On 4-5 April, the European Union (EU) hosted the “Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region”, co-chaired by Germany, Kuwait, Norway, Qatar, the United Kingdom and the United Nations. It brought together over 70 countries, international organisations and civil society that collectively committed to continued engagement and support for Syrians in and outside Syria and refugees in neighbouring countries and communities hosting them.
The conference sought to:
- assess where the international community stands collectively in fulfilling the London conference commitments (February 2016) and agree on additional efforts;
- reconfirm existing pledges and identify additional support to Syrians inside Syria and in the neighbouring countries, as well as to the respective hosting communities;
- support a lasting political resolution to the Syrian conflict through an inclusive and Syrian-led political transition under UN auspices.
On the afternoon of 4 April, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn chaired the thematic event on "Supporting the resilience of the host countries and refugees in the context of the Syria crisis", which focussed on neighbouring host countries and reaffirmed the international community's long-term engagement to support structural reforms and investment in those countries.
On this occasion, European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn commented: "The EU has spearheaded the international response to the Syrian crisis with more than €9.4 billion in humanitarian, development and stabilisation assistance mobilised. In addition, the EU concluded Compacts with Jordan and Lebanon which provide concrete help to both Syrian refugees and hosting communities.Today, we are taking stock of the pledges made last year at the London conference and joining forces to further improve the impact of international assistance. In this situation of protracted crisis, it is essential to move over time from livelihood support to economic development. Here, education remains key for maintaining hope and creating opportunities for Syrian refugees to sustain themselves financially."
The thematic event also discussed ways to improve the impact of international aid especially regarding education and livelihoods, including economic development and job creation for Syrian refugees and hosting communities. This included ways to ensure the protection of vulnerable populations inside Syria, which was a central aspect of the exchanges.
Discussions involved representatives from the United Nations, the United Kingdom, Germany, Norway as well as Ministers from neighbouring Jordan and Lebanon. Civil society organisations from the region and international NGOs also participated, and video testimonies from beneficiaries of EU funded projects ensured that the voices of the most vulnerable were heard.
Main outcomes of the Brussels Conference
The Conference has demonstrated that reaching a political solution to the Syria crisis and meeting the needs of the most affected by the crisis is a priority for the EU and the international community at large.
The Conference co-chairs, supported by all participants, adopted a Joint Declaration, including specific annexes on supporting the resilience of host countries and refugees in the context of the Syrian crisis for Jordan and for Lebanon and on the global funding announced by all participants. It reflects the breadth of the continued international community's engagement for Syria for the coming years. This includes both significant political and financial support and will be accompanied by continued coordinated and collective efforts for securing a peaceful future for Syrians and stability in the region.
European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn underlined that "Supporting the region must focus on reaching the goal of getting all children a quality education alongside efforts to create job opportunities and match skills to labour market needs. This implies not just short term crisis measures but a drive to develop the region's economic and social potential".
The EU reconfirmed its leading role as the first donor for the Syria crisis and its strong commitment to support the Syrian people. Out of the global total of €5.6 billion pledged for 2017, €3.7 billion comes from the EU and Member States, of which €1.275 billion from the European Commission for both humanitarian and resilience support, which reconfirmed the commitment made in London. The European Commission also pledged an additional €560 million for the year 2018.
For more information:
Opening remarks by Commissioner Hahn – Thematic session 04 April
Closing remarks by Commissioner Hahn – Thematic session 04 April
Opening remarks by Commissioner Hahn - Conference panel "Supporting the region and the refugees – implementation of London commitments and the way ahead" 05 April
Co-Chairs declaration document
- Publication date
- 4 April 2017
- Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations