On February 4th 2016, the UK, Norway, Germany, the United Nations and Kuwait co-hosted the 2016 Supporting Syria and the Region conference in London. This was the fourth annual pledging conference and this year it aimed to raise $8.96 billion for UN inter-agency appeals and affected regional governments. Over 70 UN member states were invited to attend. Disappointingly, very few Syrian organisations were invited to contribute to the much needed discussion on moving forward with humanitarian responses in and around Syria. However, there was much greater Syrian representation at BOND’s civil society conference which took place the day before on 3rd February 2016.
On 2nd February, in preparation for the Supporting Syria and the Region conference, The Humanitarian Forum held a closed meeting of local and national NGOs that work in and around the conflict zone. We discussed key points to highlight at both the pledging conference and the civil society conference. Over 25 organisations were represented.
Many NGOs felt it was imperative to highlight the fact that many areas within Syria are under siege. The legislation facing NGOs that want to deliver aid to these regions is complicated and hinders the life-saving work that needs to be done. Dr Rouba Mhaissen explains this point excellently here: