Brussels – An international conference aimed at garnering humanitarian support for victims of the Syrian war began on Tuesday with a series of events featuring civil societies and NGOs.
The two-day conference co-hosted by the European Union and the United Nations is set to bring more than 80 delegations from countries and global organizations together to discuss the situation in Syria.
More than 200 non-governmental organizations
On Tuesday, more than 200 non-governmental organizations are tasked with drawing up concrete recommendations to be then discussed by high-level delegations the following day.
“Syria is the largest, most complex and most severe protection crisis of our time,” said UN’s head of emergency relief, Mark Lowcock, at the opening session of the NGO dialogue.
“As the number of people in urgent need of assistance continues to grow, the United Nations has exhausted its resources to respond.”
Lowcock said that the humanitarian appeal made at the conference “has taken on even higher urgency” to address new developments in the country, including the situation in Eastern Ghouta, once a key opposition stronghold on the outskirts of Damascus, where the Syrian government recently retook control.
On Wednesday, ministerial-level delegations from countries that either have influence in the region or are major donors will hold several meetings focusing on the political and humanitarian dimensions of the conflict.
The EU is seeking to revitalize the UN-led peace process in a bid to find a political solution to the crisis.
With 13 million people in need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria and 5.6 million Syrians registered as refugees in neighbouring countries in the region, the conference is also aiming to mobilize financial assistance.
At last year’s conference, participants pledged 6 billion dollars for 2017. The EU hopes to surpass that figure at this year’s conference.
The EU as a whole and its member states have been the top donors in Syria and the region. Since the conflict broke out in 2011, they have given more than 10.6 billion euros (13 billion dollars) in humanitarian assistance.