Syria conference in London: what challenges?

Ahead of the Supporting Syria and the Region conference on 4 February, Alliance2015 calls on world leaders to grasp the opportunity in London to raise the money needed to help millions of people affected by the Syrian crisis.

Alliance2015 members endorse the NGO Joint Position Paper which underscores the urgency for the international community to seek a lasting political solution to the crisis in Syria and sets out a range of important “calls to action”.

While the roundtable talks in Geneva give a measure of the huge political challenges ahead, Alliance2015 takes this opportunity to urge policy-makers to push for the involvement of Syrian civil society and specifically Syrian women in such dialogues. Real involvement of the “moderate middle” is crucial in building a new Syria as it is precisely these Syrian voices that need international protection and that can help us assess the full scale of the crisis.

As Europeans, we are struggling to respond appropriately and adequately to the consequences of conflict, humanitarian crisis, hunger and migration across the globe. We are also challenged in terms of dealing with the root causes of these crises. The arrival on our shores of people whose lives have been torn apart by war should remind us of the terror from which they flee and of the reality for those who cannot.

Alliance2015 knows this reality well. Six of our members, ACTED (France), Cesvi (Italy), Concern Worldwide (Ireland), Hivos (The Netherlands), People in Need (Czech Republic) and Welthungerhilfe (Germany), are involved in humanitarian and civil society support initiatives in Syria and across the region. They work together to strengthen refugees’ and host populations’ livelihoods and food security, as well as on improved access to shelter, water and sanitation and education. They also work for the protection rights of Syrian refugees, especially the most vulnerable women and children, and are involved in supporting local civil society organisations and citizen’s rights.

Europe’s response to the Syria challenge will shape our own future and the future of many millions more. We must give meaning to our shared values through appropriate action within and beyond our borders. We must tackle the root causes of conflict through diplomacy, humanitarian response, resilience building at community level and investment in longer term development.