As a major donor during the Syrian crisis and a leading advocate on behalf of affected civilians and aid organisations, the European Union has, with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, brought together stakeholders to discuss the most pressing challenges, coordinate activities and identify ways to bring relief to communities hit by violence.
Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva hosted the meeting that took place during the 67th United Nations General Assembly in New York, together with the Permanent Representative of Jordan to the UN - His Royal Highness Prince Zeid bin Raad. Leaders of international relief organisations attended, alongside ministers and senior diplomats from major donors, countries from the Middle East and Syria's neighbours (Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan).
'With no end to the fighting in sight, with serious food and medicine shortages and with winter approaching, it was high time to discuss at the highest possible level what the needs are and how we can bring help to people who need it,' Commissioner Georgieva explained.
The participants shared the concern that, while the solution to this crisis is political, humanitarian commitment needs to keep up with the growing needs, particularly in view of the upcoming winter and the refugee flow. To respond to the challenge, they agreed that the most pressing priorities are to increase humanitarian aid and provide medicines, blankets, stoves, heating fuel and other non-food items.
Reacting faster to the needs of refugees was also discussed. Commissioner Georgieva expressed gratitude to Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan for welcoming fleeing Syrians and helping them deal with their hardship in a dignified way. 'The generosity of these countries is making a big difference. The European Commission is contributing to the care for the refugees and will continue its steady support for meeting their most urgent needs,' she underlined.
The participants pointed out to the essential need for all warring parties to respect International Humanitarian Law, protect civilians and allow humanitarian workers a safe and free passage to those in need.
The discussion on humanitarian priorities will continue at the next meeting of the Syrian Humanitarian Forum.