Brussels V Conference
Supporting the future of Syria and the Region
Ministerial Segment, 30. March 2021
Video statement by H.E. Gudlaugur Thor Thordarsson
Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development Cooperation
Ladies and Gentlemen,
With the devastating conflict in Syria raging for a decade now, the international community’s sustained support to the Syrian people remains as vital as ever. If there ever was a protracted crisis, the conflict in Syria sadly fulfils the criteria. We cannot afford to look away.
After ten years of destruction and violence, the Syrian people’s coping mechanisms are surely beyond exhaustion. The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic downturn have further deepened their suffering, not least that of women and girls. They continue to bear the brunt of this crisis. It is therefore imperative that we address the most critical protection and resilience needs, both inside Syria and across the region.
Iceland remains committed to contribute to the response, and today, I am pleased to announce a new multi-year pledge of a total of four hundred and twenty million Icelandic krona. This will bring the total value of Iceland’s support for the period 2021 till 24 to close to seven hundred million Icelandic krona. These funds are in addition to Iceland’s multi-year and unearmarked contributions to our key humanitarian and development partners.
The new funds will be directed through Iceland’s priority humanitarian partners - UNHCR, WFP and OCHA - with emphasis on the Humanitarian Funds for Lebanon and Syria. Furthermore, to help drive a gender transformative response to the crisis, Iceland will channel funding to UNFPA and UN Women in the region.
In closing, the Syrian refugee crisis is currently the largest displacement crisis in the world. Conditions must be in place for voluntary, safe, and dignified return for all persons – this is a critical component of a peaceful and sustainable solution to the crisis in Syria.
Meanwhile, unhindered and sustained humanitarian access, both crossline and cross-border, is absolutely imperative for the delivery of much needed humanitarian assistance.
It is simple: adherence to international humanitarian law and human rights law should not be optional.