As well as renewing support to a lasting political solution to end the Syria crisis, in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254, the Conference addressed the most critical humanitarian and resilience issues affecting Syrians inside their country and refugees and their host communities in particular in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.
The Conference succeeded in mobilising pledges totalling €8.3 billion for 2019-20 and beyond, out of which €6.2 billion is for 2019 and multiyear pledges close to €2.1 billion. Of the overall pledge, around two thirds come from the European Union which has contributed a total of €6.79 billion: €2.57 billion from the EU budget managed by the European Commission and €4.22 billion from EU Member States. Out of the €2.57 billion from EU budget, €2.01 billion is committed for 2019 while €560 million has already been committed for 2020 for people in need inside Syria and in the region.
High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini said: “Our goal remains the same: a Syrian-led, Syrian-owned political process, facilitated by the United Nations, to establish an inclusive and non-sectarian governance for a united Syria. This is what we are all trying to work for and this is also the main reason why we convened the Brussels Conference. All of us must use our leverage to relaunch the Geneva negotiations and put an end to the war in Syria. Freezing the conflict at its current stage is not a solution.”
Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Johannes Hahn said: “A whole generation that has no experience of what is ‘normal’ still needs us. The EU, as the leading global donor for this crisis, will continue to support Syria’s neighbours to strengthen resilience and their economies. We will step up investment in education, healthcare and regular employment so refugees become more self-reliant and can live in dignity and normality”.
Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides added: “Inside Syria, the humanitarian situation remains a nightmare for millions of people. The EU is doing all it can to support our partners to deliver aid, but access remains a serious problem. We continue to call on all parties to allow lifesaving aid to reach people in need. We are committed to help the Syrian people for as long as it takes.”
The situation inside Syria remains critical, with 11.7 million Syrians in need of protection and humanitarian assistance. A further 5.6 million Syrian refugees are in neighbouring countries.
The co-chairs adopted a joint statement.
Days of Dialogue with civil society
This year’s Conference saw an unprecedented effort to bring to Brussels a large number of representatives of Syrian, regional and international non-governmental and civil society organisations. More than 500 civil society and NGO representatives from over 300 different organisations, of which more than 200 from Syria and the region, gathered in the European Parliament to attend the Days of Dialogue (12-13 March).
The role of Syria’s women was also given particular prominence. Women accounted for nearly half of the participants at the Days of Dialogue. High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and UN Special Envoy Geir Pedersen, together with Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders, also co-hosted on Wednesday 13 March an official dinner with Syrian women from the Women Advisory Board and grassroots organisations to honour their role and contribution to the future of Syria.
The Foreign Ministers meeting on 14 March counted on representatives from 79 delegations, from the EU and the region, regional and international organisation, NGOs and civil society.
EU support for the Syria crisis
The EU and its Member States are the largest donor addressing the consequences of the Syrian crisis. They have mobilised around €17 billion since the beginning of the crisis in 2011 in overall support through the Commission and Member States.
EU support has helped more than 4 million people with health assistance and thousands of out of school children with education emergency programmes. 850, 000 people have received food and 1 million received essential items and shelter. More than 2 million have been reached via the EU Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian crisis. Increasingly, efforts are geared at strengthening national systems for service provision with a view to ensuring that the response of the international community is sustainable, and at helping the countries that host vast numbers of refugees create economic growth and livelihoods for the benefit of their citizens and for refugees.
In line with the strategic objectives laid down in the 2017 EU Strategy for Syria, which frames clear lines of action on all the dimensions of the crisis, Brussels III shows the EU’s constant engagement to keep the Syrian people and the future of Syria at the top of the international agenda.
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