On 31 March, Kuwait will host the third international donor conference to raise funds for humanitarian assistance for Syrian refugees. At the conference, the Federal Government will make available 255 million euro in new aid. On the fringe of today's negotiations in Lausanne on Iran's nuclear programme, Foreign Minister Steinmeier said:
It is our responsibility not to abandon the people who for five years now have been suffering from the effects of the brutal conflict in Syria. That is why we will make available an additional 100 million euro in Federal Foreign Office funds for humanitarian assistance in Syria and its neighbouring countries. This will bring the total amount of funding that will be pledged by Germany in Kuwait to aid people in Syria and its neighbours to 255 million euro.
The humanitarian situation in Syria is catastrophic: Nearly 12 million Syrians have been displaced, both internally and throughout the region. More than seven million children – who are the hope for Syria's future – are not receiving enough humanitarian aid and cannot attend school regularly. Syria's neighbours, above all Lebanon and Jordan, are bursting at the seams with the number of refugees. Last October at the Syrian Refugee Conference in Berlin, Germany committed itself to work hard to help especially the neighbouring countries to deal with the crisis.
Even if the funding now pledged will still be insufficient in face of the sheer dimension of the crisis, it does help provide aid that directly benefits people in need. Having pledged more than one billion euro in total since 2012, Germany is one of the largest international donors to the Syrian refugee crisis. This also sends a signal that, in spite of the many crises and conflicts that are shaking the region, we are not forgetting Syria.
One thing remains clear: A real solution can only be achieved through political means. An end to violence and a return of the refugees will only be possible when the Syrian regime finally decides to engage in a serious negotiation process, with a view to reaching a peaceful solution.
On 31 March, Kuwait is hosting the Third International Pledging Humanitarian Conference for Syria and Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries. Some 80 countries and various regional and international organisations are scheduled to attend.
The United Nations' appeals for aid, which were presented on 18 December 2014 in Berlin, forecast a humanitarian need of 2.9 billion US dollars in Syria itself and 5.5 billion US dollars in the neighbouring countries.
The Federal Government is being represented at the conference by Christoph Strässer, Federal Foreign Office Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid. The conference is being chaired by Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon. Its aim is to raise funds to alleviate the humanitarian situation of people in Syria and refugees in the region. The international community is also being called upon to increase support for the host countries, so that these can meet the challenges they face.
Already yesterday, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development announced a new pledge of assistance amounting to 155 million euro.