Amid Continued Suffering, ‘No Time to Spare’ to Help Syrian People, Secretary-General Tells Annual Brussels Conference, Appealing for $11.1 Billion in Aid
Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message to the Seventh Annual Brussels Conference “Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region”, today:
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
I thank the European Union for again hosting this critical conference, and I thank all of you for your solidarity with the people of Syria.
The suffering of Syrians defies description. For more than a decade, the Syrian people have seen death, destruction and despair. As many as half a million people have perished. Over 12 million have been forced from their homes. And just as humanitarian needs reached record levels, devastating earthquakes hit. Today, 9 in 10 Syrians live below the poverty line. Over 15 million — 70 per cent of the population — require humanitarian assistance.
My appeal is simple: help us help the Syrian people. We are asking for $11.1 billion — our largest appeal worldwide. And we have no time to spare — food or cash assistance will run out for two-and-a-half million Syrians next month alone. Funding our appeal — and disbursing funds quickly — must be priority number one.
But we also know that we cannot go on like this forever. We must break the vicious cycle in which deprivation breeds conflict, and conflict deepens despair. We must chart a path forward for the Syrian people to find a degree of stability and a measure of hope for the future.
This means: Guaranteeing predictable and sustained access through every route possible to reach those in need. The Security Council’s extension of the cross-border authorization for 12 months remains essential. It means securing greater support to refugees and their host communities across the region. Achieving real progress on the critical issue of detained, abducted and missing persons — including through the establishment of an international institution. And finally, advancing towards credible and comprehensive negotiations, in line with Security Council resolution 2254 (2015).
There is no shortcut to a political solution. And there can be no sustainable political solution without all Syrians. The United Nations will pursue every avenue available to realize these goals. We will not waver in our commitment to the Syrian people and their quest for dignity, justice and peace. But we cannot do it alone. We need your support. rt.