The EU organised the fifth Brussels Conference on ‘Supporting the future of Syria and the region, co-chaired with the United Nations. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this two-day Conference took place in a virtual format.
With 10 years in conflict, the COVID-19 pandemic and a general regional economic deterioration, the situation in Syria and the region is even more critical. Building on previous editions, this year’s conference was an opportunity to support the Syrian people and mobilise the international community in support of a comprehensive and credible political solution to the Syria conflict, in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254.
The Brussels V Conference addressed the most critical humanitarian and resilience issues affecting Syrians and communities hosting refugees from Syria, both inside the country and in the region and renew the international community’s political and financial support for Syria’s neighbours, in particular Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey as well as Egypt and Iraq.
EU debates the future of Syria
The Conference started with the “Day of Dialogue” on 29 March featuring panel discussions with speakers from a broad variety of governmental and non-governmental institutions.
The ministerial part of the conference on 30 March virtually had participants from at least 77 delegations including 50 countries, 10 regional organisations and international financial institutions as well as 17 UN agencies at ministerial level to discuss all key aspects of the Syrian crisis: political, humanitarian and regional development. Eight civil society representatives from inside Syria and the region convey the main recommendations resulting from the online consultation process that preceded the Ministerial.
The EU with its Member States is the largest donor addressing the consequences of the Syrian crisis with close to €25 billion mobilised since 2011. This conference was the main pledging event for Syria and the region in 2021. Last year’s pledges amounted to €6.9 billion and two thirds of the overall pledge came from the European Union and its Member States. The international community delivered in excess by 54% to meet the additional challenges that faced the region, in particular the COVID-19 pandemic.
Syria crisis at the Brussels IV conference
On 30 June 2020, representatives of 84 delegations – 57 States, 10 regional organisations and International Financial Institutions (IFI) as well as 17 United Nations (UN) agencies – came together to renew political, humanitarian, and financial commitments for supporting the future of Syria and the region at the Brussels IV conference. Hosted by the European Union (EU) and co-chaired by the UN, the eighth pledging conference announced a total funding pledge of US$5.5 billion (€4.9 billion) for 2020 and multi-year pledges of close to US$2.2 billion (€2 billion) for 2021 and beyond, in addition, IFIs and donors also announced US$6.1 billion (€5.5 billion) in loans1 for 2020 and beyond. More details in the report.
At the Ministerial session, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission Josep Borrell co-chaired the conference on behalf of the European Union, together with Olivér Várhelyi, Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, and Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management. On the UN side, the conference was under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, who represented by the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordination Mark Lowcock. He was accompanied by the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and the Administrator of the UN Development Programme Achim Steiner.
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