As part of its G7 Presidency, Germany invited the G7 Foreign Ministers as well as high-level representatives of other countries to a meeting in New York on Tuesday (29 September). On the agenda were the humanitarian situation facing Syrian refugees and the funding deficit confronting international aid agencies. At the meeting, the Foreign Ministers agreed to provide an additional 1.8 billion dollar in support.
Aid agencies facing severe funding deficit
Foreign Minister Steinmeier proposed the meeting, held on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York, to examine the humanitarian situation facing people in and around Syria who have fled their homes and to discuss further aid measures. Alongside the G7 states, the participants were Austria, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, plus top representatives of aid organisations. The situation is in part extremely serious in refugee camps in the countries bordering on Syria, as the UNHCR and many other aid agencies cannot meet the current need with the funding at their disposal. It is estimated that refugee assistance around the world will require a record-breaking 20 billion US dollars in 2015. Steinmeier therefore made an appeal at the meeting:
In such circumstances, the international community has a duty to prevent the situation being exacerbated even further and to assist the aid organisations, thereby helping the refugees themselves.
Germany raises assistance by 100 million euros
During the consultations on Tuesday evening, the Foreign Ministers were able to agree to mobilise a further 1.8 billion US dollars (around 1.6 billion euros) to help the refugees in the region. Germany alone will provide around 100 million euros of that amount. After the meeting, Steinmeier thanked the participating states for their contributions and the willingness to help that they demonstrated.
Factors causing people to flee remain a crucial topic
At the same time, the German Foreign Minister insisted that the pressing question of providing emergency care for refugees must on no account overshadow the work of tackling the circumstances forcing them to leave their homes. A prominent part of that work, he said, would be to calm the conflict in Syria, which was top of the agenda for the other talks being held in New York.