Thursday, 23 November 2017

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Syrian pledging conference cannot be business as usual

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31 March 2015 – "After four years of conflict, we are at a tipping point with international support far from keeping pace with the scale of the needs", warns António Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). He urges countries to pledge as generously as possible ahead of the Third International Humanitarian Pledging Conference kicking off today in Kuwait City. 

Hosted by the Amir of Kuwait, the conference aims to mobilize donor support and raise funds required to meet the needs set out in the 2015 Syria Response Plan and the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP) 2015-2016.

“While we are managing to get more aid in through cross-border operations, we are seeing a closing down of our ability to get aid across conflict lines inside Syria. The situation is very grave,” UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Valery Amos has said in an interview with UN Radio. “Needs are increasing and although the amount donors are giving us is also increasing, it’s not increasing at the same pace.” she said.

Born into conflict

“Needs are also changing as the crisis enters a fifth year. We are now faced with Syrian children who have spent the first critical 1,000 days of their lives in a conflict situation without adequate food and nutrients. We must ensure our food assistance addresses the development needs of the most vulnerable victims of this crisis,” she said.

Nearly half of all Syrians have been forced out of Syria and 7.6 million people have been internally displaced – that’s twice the population of Berlin, with 12.2 million remaining in dire need of assistance. “We must not lose a whole generation to war,” urged Ms. Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP)

Long term strategy

Speaking from the conference today, Guterres contextualised the call for pledges:

“Many people speak about donor fatigue. But who is talking about the fatigue of the countries and the communities that have been bearing the brunt of this massive crisis for the past four years?” he asked. “This appeal is different from previous ones, in that it recognizes both the immediate and the longer-term imperatives. Development actors must step forward to support the longer-term efforts.” 

“It is true that humanitarian action can only be a palliative. Without a political solution to the conflict, we will only find ourselves with greater and greater humanitarian needs.”

"The Syrian peaople deserve accountability"

As part of his welcoming statement at the conference, Bank Ki-moon gave the following thanks to those involved in the humanitarian efforts:

"I would like to extend my personal thanks to the staff of all humanitarian agencies and our local partners in Syria and across the region."  

"Despite the dire conditions, you continue to stay and deliver as a lifeline for millions of Syrians.  Thank you for your courage and commitment.  We are profoundly grateful."

The full press release can be found here, along with the concept notes for attendees.

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