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Pledging conference aims to raise funds as staggering levels of need persist for people throughout Syria

11 Mar 2019


The EU and the UN will co-chair the third conference on 'Supporting the future of Syria and the region', which will take place in Brussels on 12-14 March 2019. UN Humanitarian Chief Mark Lowcock is scheduled to co-chair, on behalf of the United Nations Secretary-General.

The conference will seek to further mobilise the international community to support 11.7 million people in Syria who remain in need of some form of humanitarian aid and protection. During the conference, the UN and partners will be appealing for continued support and generous financial pledges to the critical life-saving response inside Syria, as well as for support to the refugee response and resilience needs in neighbouring countries.

Whilst there has been a reduction in violence in many parts of the country over the past year, the Syria crisis is entering its ninth year and it remains one of the largest humanitarian and protection crises of our times.

The numbers are staggering.



People in need Funding needed






Internally displaced

Damanged health facilities

Food insecure

The population continues to look for safety in parts of the country still affected by ongoing hostilities with significant protection needs, and new and protracted displacement, increased self-organized returns and the sustained erosion of communities’ resilience persisting. The widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure, the depletion of savings, and limited economic opportunities have forced many to resort to harmful coping strategies and resulted in extreme vulnerability to additional shocks. Children, pregnant and lactating women, people with disabilities, the elderly and other groups or individuals with specific needs or diminished coping mechanisms are particularly at risk.

A massive humanitarian operation

Syrians themselves, through family and community support structures, civil society and humanitarian non-governmental organizations, and state institutions at both central and local level, continue to be the main responders to the humanitarian crisis in Syria. Complementing their efforts, humanitarian organizations have mounted one of the largest humanitarian responses in the world. As the crisis endures, people’s resourcefulness and national efforts alone remain insufficient to address needs which can only be mitigated through humanitarian assistance. Sufficient investments in more dignified and sustainable solutions to reduce dependency and increase resilience remained a key gap in the response due to insufficient resources.

Notwithsranding the enormous challenges, through various flexible response modalities the response in 2018 made a difference in the lives of millions of people:

  • 5.3M people received food assistance.
  • 2.7M people received agricultural assistance.
  • 6M people received direct water, sanitation and hygiene kits and assistance.
  • 22.8M medical procedures were supported by humanitarian actors.
  • 4.3M children and teachers benefited from quality education programmes.
  • 838,400 girls and boys could access protection services, including psychosocial support.

Outlook 2019

In 2019, the political and security landscape in Syria is likely to remain complex and dynamic. Hostilities and insecurity are expected to continue, most notably in the north-west and in parts of the north-east of the country, which will generate additional civilian displacement. Contingency plans are being put in place for up to 100,000 displacements per month (1.2 million in total for the year). A recent survey on the intentions of IDPs in Syria found that almost 70 per cent of households can be expected to remain at their current location. Twenty per cent of households expect to integrate into their place of displacement, and 44 per cent remain undecided about their future plans.

At present, the inter-agency community is not facilitating or promoting returns. It continues to support the displaced to make a voluntary and informed decision at the time of their choosing, including by contributing to efforts to overcome barriers to return for those who would like to do so, and by supporting the rights of IDPs to opt for their preferred durable solution.

Key concerns in 2019 will include conditions for people living in overcrowded IDP sites, particularly in the north-west and north-east of the country; the needs of host communities who share resources with the displaced; and natural hazards such as the impact of floods and drought from 2018 on food security and livelihoods. Furthermore, the impact of funding-related cuts to assistance will threaten the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable Palestine refugees.

Last year's Humanitarian Response Plan remained 35 per cent underfunded. Without the necessary funding, humanitarian partners simply will not be able to continue to save lives, provide basic services and bring hope to people in Syria.