The fourth Brussels Conference, hosted by the European Union in partnership with the United Nations on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region, convened from 22 to 30 June 2020 finishing with a high-level Ministerial Conference in which representatives from UN Member States, as well as international organizations and civil society, discussed the need for political solutions in the Syrian conflict. The preeminent task of this meeting was to promote continued financial support for humanitarian aid and refugees inside Syria and neighboring countries. In 2019, the international community pledged €6.2 billion to assist Syrians through humanitarian aid programs at the third Brussels Conference. This year €7.7 billion was pledged to mobilize aid to Syrians living within the Syrian borders and neighboring countries, €5.5 of which has been allocated for 2020 alone. The international community reaffirmed its support for the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions 2254 (2015) and 2504 (2020), noting the need for a political solution to the conflict as well as continued support for humanitarian efforts. Amongst calls to further support neighboring countries who host the majority of Syrian refugees, Member States in attendance praised the work that is being done by the UN Special Envoy to Syria, Geir Pedersen, particularly in his efforts on the Syrian Constitutional Committee. While the BIC applauds the international community in their financial support to those impacted by the Syrian conflict, measures must be taken to ensure that cross-border humanitarian aid reaches the population directly.
Elisa Cherry, Middle East Analyst said: “Aid given by the international community to support Syrians is only beneficial if tangible results can be seen and the aid is delivered to those who are most vulnerable. While not only UNSC Resolution 2504 (2020), which calls for the unimpeded access of humanitarian aid through cross-border access into Syria, must be upheld, measures to protect and deliver aid safely must be ensured. With the vast amounts of resources that have been allocated to aid efforts in the Syrian conflict, greater transparency and higher levels of civilian access to aid should be a prerequisite for Member States when allocating funds to humanitarian efforts in Syria. Establishing mechanisms to achieve consistent and unimpeded access to humanitarian aid, and being able to provide secure, cross-border humanitarian access is of vital importance to all parties, but most importantly to the millions of Syrians who rely on humanitarian assistance after nearly a decade of war. The emphasis of the international community in finding a political solution to the conflict in Syria must be resolved in coordination with humanitarian efforts, ultimately prioritizing the lives of Syrian people.”