As the international community came together for the 7th consecutive year to commit to helping Syrians inside their country, as well as refugees and their hosts, Oxfam called today for a sustained follow-up to ensure political and funding support translates into meaningful improvements for all Syrians.
The war is not over: the dozens of people killed in recent airstrikes and shelling are testament to this. As more than 200 Syrian groups who participated in the conference highlighted: civilians still face this daunting reality as well as many other threats, ranging from detention and conscription to unexploded ordnance, a lack of essential services and a lack of critical documentation.
This is what people are living through in Syria – all across the country they require protection and assistance. Donors and humanitarian agencies must come together now to support people who have suffered eight years of conflict and desolation – without reservation or restriction.
Fundamentally, these risks civilians face, the ongoing conflict, unexploded ordnance, crippling poverty and the lack of basic services are all significant barriers which need to be overcome before conditions are conducive to the return of refugees.
It is therefore essential that the international community follows up on previous commitments on education, livelihoods, inclusion and issues around legal stay and documentation. The financial commitment of donors is critical, but so is the will to see these commitments transform into changes for IDPs, refugees and vulnerable host communities – and this will require a concerted effort from donors, host governments and aid agencies.
While we welcome the expressed support for Syrian women and their visible participation in this conference, donors need to make this rhetoric meaningful and put Syrian women and youth at the center of all decision-making that affects their lives.
It was disappointing that no commitment was made on resettlement. The number of Syrians being resettled has dropped dramatically with two-thirds fewer refugees being resettled now than in 2017. The international community needs to share responsibility by both increasing resettlement pledges and translating those pledges into actual places.
Syrian civilians, IDPs, refugees and host communities impacted by this conflict will require long-term investment to recover and rebuild their lives, including multi-year funding commitments. The international community, donors and host countries owe it to the people of Syria to stand by them and see their commitments through.