Some 13.4 million Syrians throughout the beleaguered country are in need of assistance, the UN humanitarian office said on Saturday, calling for “greater access and expanded funding”, to better help them.
Concluding a seven-day visit to Syria, Lebanon and Turkey, in his first official mission in the region since assuming the function of UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths stressed that “the UN needs to be able to reach people who depend on its aid both from Turkey and from within Syria”.
“Humanitarians and donors must keep Syria high on our collective agenda to prevent an entire generation being lost”, Martin Griffiths underscored.
During meetings with the Syrian Foreign Minister and his deputy, Mr. Griffiths emphasised the need to expand humanitarian access, protect civilians and help Syrians envision a future for themselves.
So far, the United Nations and its partners have received only 27 per cent of the funding needed for its 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan for Syria, which seeks $4.2 billion.
And the $5.8 billion Regional Refugee & Resilience Plan aims to help over 5.5 million Syrian refugees and host communities in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey is only 19 per cent funded, according UN News.
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The United Nations chief has welcomed a decision on Friday by the Security Council to extend the UN cross-border aid operation in northwest Syria for another 12 months, providing a lifeline for more than 3.4 million people in need, including some one million children.
Secretary-General António Guterres said via his Spokesperson, that the authorization to continue using the Bab al-Hawa border crossing, due to expire on Saturday, was essential, as it “remains a lifeline for millions of people in the area, and beyond.”
“However, needs continue to outstrip the response”, the statement continued. “As the Secretary-General has highlighted to the Council, with additional crossings and expanded funding, the United Nations could do more to help the rising number of people in need.”
The compromise resolution after weeks of delay, emerged from discussions on Friday morning, and was unanimously adopted. It calls for a “substantive” UN report to be provided on aid access across the Syria-Turkish border at Bab al-Hawa, after six months, with a focus on “transparency in operations, and progress on cross-line access in meeting humanitarian needs”.
However, the operation will not depend on reauthorization in January, and can extend through to July next year.
Despite “significant progress” in the fight against terrorism, the UN counter-terrorism chief warned on Wednesday that amidst new and more diverse threats, COVID-19 has triggered increased activity throughout many countries.
Vladimir Voronkov, head of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (OCT), concluded the Second High-level Conference of Heads of Counter-Terrorism, by summing up four of the strategic challenges facing the world today.
He underscored the need for “inclusive, forward-looking, evidence-based approaches to build resilience”, in the face of the ISIL legacy in Iraq and Syria; terrorist threats in Africa; tackling transnational risks sparked by various forms of intolerance; and the need to upgrade technology and know-how to counter the scourge.