This Thursday 4th February, under the initiative of the Norwegian Government, the UK, Germany, Kuwait and the UN will co-host the Syria Donors Conference 2016 in London. The aim of the Conference is to address the humanitarian needs of those affected by the Syrian conflict. This includes 13.5 million vulnerable and displaced people inside Syria, and 4.2 million Syrian refugees in the neighbouring countries that need urgent aid. The situation in Syria is critical since last year's appeals have not been reached: only $3.3 billion have been collected against an appeal of $8.4 billion. More than 70 international leaders are expected to attend, including Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, UN Secretary General Bank Ki-Moon and the Emir of Kuwait Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.
The leader of the S&D Group in the European Parliament, Gianni Pittella, said:
"Whilst a political solution for peace is not reached, humanitarian aid is the only hope for Syrian people. Significant new funding needs to be raised not only to help those inside Syria but also the neighbouring countries who have shown enormous generosity in hosting Syrian refugees. However, coping with the funding gap should only be a first step: long term funding solutions and needs, such as access to work and education, should also be addressed during the Conference."
S&D MEP Linda McAvan, chair of development committee, said:
"Three million Syrian children are not able to attend school because of the war. Participants in the Donors Conference need thus to ensure that the funding agreed in London has an impact. For instance, a comprehensive plan for education, as suggested by several international and local non-government organisations, would be a positive first step towards closing the education funding gap and contribute to guarantee access to education during conflicts"
Enrique Guerrero Salom, EP standing rapporteur for humanitarian aid, said:
"The situation that we have recently seen in the Syrian town of Madaya, where starvation has been used against civilians, should boost all the participants to show more generosity than last year and achieve the United Nations' demand. The Conference should also come out with a political solution and a humanitarian strategic plan that address the populations' main needs."