UN relief chief calls for renewal of cross-border aid operation

UN Humanitarian Coordinator Mark Lowcock talks with Syrian truck drivers on the Turkish-Syrian border  UN Humanitarian Coordinator Mark Lowcock talks with Syrian truck drivers on the Turkish-Syrian border OCHA/ David Swanson

21 May 2020

The untimely renewal of the authorization for cross-border aid assistance will cause the disruption of humanitarian aid delivery to Syria

United Nations (UN) Humanitarian Coordinator Mark Lowcock called for the urgent renewal of the measures contained in Security Council Resolution 2504 during a virtual briefing held on Tuesday. Mr Lowcock underlined in this occasion the importance of the resolution for the delivery of humanitarian aid to ten-year war-torn Syria. The resolution will expire on 10 July and it concerns cross-border aid operations that are the sole instrument available to relief agencies to move aid goods from Turkey to Syria. UN Secretary-General has already submitted the review on cross-border operations ahead of schedule in order to allow the Security Council to make a timely decision and to avoid a disruption of aid that would affect millions.

In his briefing, Mr Lowcock noted that the humanitarian aid flow from Turkey increased of 130 percent in April comparing to the previous year. There are multiple reasons for this: the deterioration of the security situation in the northwest started in December, the new needs arisen from the global health emergency and the time pressure in which aid agencies operate caused by the uncertainty over the renewal of the authorization for cross-border assistance. In early 2020 it was estimated that 80 percent of Syrians lived under the poverty line and their condition worsened with the pandemic. A 54% depreciation of the Syrian Pound since the end of April translated into direr economic conditions for the Syrian population that largely relies on imported goods.

Humanitarian assistance is essential to Syrian people in order to face the new challenges emerging in these difficult times. At the same time, these could be favourable times for reigniting peace talks among key players, according to UN mediator for Syria Geir Pedersen. The fourth UN envoy for Syria called the United States and Russia for making the most of “some calm” in order to make a decisive move towards peace. Pedersen believes that in these times, when COVID-19 represents a new common enemy, it is especially important to build trust and meaningful international cooperation. Moreover, he added that opposing sides to the conflict have already agreed to meet in Geneva for a new in-person round of talks “as soon as pandemic allows”.

 

To know more, please read:

https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/05/1064432

https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/200519%20Syria%20USG%20briefing%20to%20Security%20Council%20final.pdf

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/05/syrian-warring-sides-agree-geneva-constitution-talks-envoy-200519092539874.html

 

Author: Annette Savoca

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