EU, UN to co-host conference on Syria aid

The EU and the UN will co-chair a two-day international conference starting here on 24 April 2018, aiming to pump financial aid for Syrians and garner political support for UN-led intra-Syrian talks. The first day’s meeting will focus on dialogues with NGOs from Syria and the region, which were expected to provide “concrete operational recommendations” to the ministerial meeting on the second day.

In the aftermath of the US-led airstrikes on alleged chemical weapon-related facilities in Syria in early April, the conference will get more international attention than the previous one in April 4-5, 2017, during which international donors pledged 5.6 billion euros in aid for 2017 and 3.47 billion euros for 2018-2020.

The EU and its member states are the top donors in Syria and the region, having mobilised over 10.6 billion euros in humanitarian aid and stabilisation assistance since 2011, the Council data showed. The UN-backed intra-Syrian negotiations have been suspended since the ninth round, held in Vienna on January 25-26. It ended up with a truce between the warring sides in the Eastern Ghouta countryside of Damascus.

The eighth round of the talks concluded in Geneva on December 14, 2017, making little progress due to a wide rift. According to UN data, the Syrian crisis over the past six years caused 330,000 deaths and displaced half of the country’s population, with 13.5 million people in need of humanitarian aid. The conference, the second of its kind since 2017, will bring together participants from more than 85 countries and organisations at the ministerial level, as well as those from over 200 non-governmental organisations

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