On 31 March, the Third International Humanitarian Pledging Conference in Response to the Syria Crisis (Kuwait III) mobilized commitments of more than USD 3.6 billion in support of the Syria Strategic Response Plan (SRP) and Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP). The Conference was hosted for the third year in a row by the Amir of Kuwait, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.
The generous donor support comes as the security, humanitarian and development situation inside Syria continues its downward spiral. It is a significant show of support and solidarity with Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, which are now hosting more than 3.9 million Syrian refugees between them.
Some 600,000 refugees are out of school, 2.4 million are in need of food assistance, and 1.4 million very vulnerable people need cash assistance to meet their most basic needs. Meanwhile, essential services such as health, education and sanitation in these host countries are at a breaking point.
In light of this situation, the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-Moon, used his opening address to encourage donors to continue channeling funds that link development and humanitarian assistance.
The 3RP was developed as a platform to facilitate just such linkages by integrating humanitarian and development priorities into a single response.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Mr António Guterres reinforced the need for such a new approach. “After four years of conflict, we are at a tipping point,” he said. “It is clear that the world’s response to the crisis in Syria cannot be business as usual. The situation is becoming unsustainable.”
Ms Helen Clark, Administrator of UNDP, presented in her speech how the Syria crisis combines humanitarian and development challenges, defies conventional conflict resolution and development approaches, and challenges standard aid responses and co-ordination mechanisms. “This ‘integration,’ however, will not succeed if donors do not follow the same shift,” she emphasized.
These calls for investment into long-term development solutions and resilience-building in addition to life-saving humanitarian assistance were reiterated in the statements of several Member States.
The Conference is therefore a positive step in confirming the international community’s understanding of the Syria situation as both a humanitarian and development crisis – with implications on what constitutes an adequate response both inside and outside of Syria.
While the USD 3.6 billion pledged amounts to 43 per cent of the USD 8.4 billion required under the 3RP and SRP, it is a significant increase on the USD 2.4 billion pledged at the corresponding conference in 2014.
Fundraising against the plans will continue throughout 2015.Download the latest 3RP Update