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Syrian Humanitarian Crisis: Joint statement by EU Commissioner Georgieva and Jordanian Foreign Minister Judeh

Summary: 25 September 2013, New York - Joint statement by Kristalina Georgieva, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response and Nasser Judeh, Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

At our meeting today Ministers responsible for humanitarian aid of countries neighbouring Syria, major donor countries and key humanitarian agencies were united in expressing the gravest concern at the constantly deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria, the innumerable serious violations of International Humanitarian Law in the conflict and the illegal use of chemical weapons.

Almost half the population of Syria will need humanitarian aid by the end of this year. More than half of the victims are children. Malnutrition and deadly diseases are on the rise because of the lack of access to food, the collapse of the health system and shortages of clean water in the conflict's most affected areas.

While we agreed that a political solution to the conflict is urgently required we also underlined the necessity of decisive action to alleviate human suffering. The priorities we identified are access everywhere inside Syria to those most in need, stabilisation of the wider neighbourhood through addressing the needs of Syrian refugees and host governments and communities both in the immediate and long term and thirdly going even further in our efforts to raise funding to extraordinary levels to respond to an extraordinary crisis, unprecedented in its severity this century.

The participants paid special tribute to Jordan and commended its efforts as well as those of Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey for their generosity and hospitality in accommodating the needs of Syrian refugees in spite of their limited resources. They recognised the profound impact on host communities, their economies and societies, services, infrastructure, environment and security and the need to assist them.

We welcome the generosity reflected in the many pledges made in recent months starting in Kuwait. Today the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Denmark, Luxembourg, Spain, the Netherlands and the European Commission have announced an increase of their funding by $431 million. We agreed that another pledging conference, following the fundraising effort successfully organised by Kuwait in January, should be organised at the earliest possible date.

What is clear is that the financial demands on all of us will last a long time. This is a protracted crisis which goes beyond the scope of humanitarian aid alone. And we are all too conscious of the likely consequences of the creation of a "lost generation" by a war whose impact falls disproportionately upon children. History teaches us that failed states breed radicalisation among boys and girls when they are robbed of their futures by being denied their right to sit behind school desks.

Greater coordination between donors and aid agencies will be a determining factor if we are to increase efficiency and prevent gaps in the humanitarian response. We want to support the efforts of all humanitarian agencies and in particular UN OCHA in stepping up assistance.

We need a common comprehensive UN-led aid strategy in consultation with host countries that includes humanitarian and development and macro-financial support for the millions of Syrians now inside and outside their country as well as for neighbouring countries which so generously host large numbers of refugees. The gratitude we all share for this vital expression of regional solidarity is reflected in our common determination to bring the humanitarian and development communities together to focus on giving adequate support.

And we call again on all parties to the ongoing crisis in Syria to fully respect their obligations under International Humanitarian Law to protect civilians and humanitarian aid workers who are being attacked as they try to bring relief to the most suffering and beleaguered populations inside Syria.

To this end we agreed that a high level group of all the main regional stakeholders should be established as a matter of urgency in order to support the work of the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator in addressing the humanitarian challenges in Syria and the neighbouring countries.

  • Ref: EC13-167EN
  • EU source: European Commission
  • UN forum: 
  • Date: 25/9/2013

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European Union Member States