Speech/statement | Date: 2017-09-21 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
By Former Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende (New York, 21 September)
Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende's address at a meeting on the humanitarian situation in Syria. The meeting was a follow-up after the Brussels Conference in April.
The Syrian crisis is in its seventh year.
The human suffering and loss of lives is unbearable.
The repeated violations of humanitarian law is unacceptable.
And Syria's neighbors continue to shoulder a disproportionate share of the burden.
We all have to ask ourselves what more can be done to meet the needs of millions of people still suffering from the crisis.
I will make four points today:
1) We must deliver on our commitments to Syria and the neighboring countries – now and in the years to come.
It will take years before life will return to normal in Syria.
What was destroyed in six years, will take years to rebuild.
Last year, a historic 12 billion US dollars was pledged in London. This year, more than 6 billion US dollars was pledged in Brussels.
But now, the UN Response Plans for Syria and the region has never been more underfunded.
This cannot continue.
We need to deliver on our pledges and we need to deliver on our promises to the Syrian people.
Norway pledged more than 1 billion US dollars at the London Conference. We have never pledged this much money before.
We are on track for delivering on our promise.
2) Education must be a priority for our efforts, both inside Syria and in the neighboring countries.
We cannot afford to lose a generation of Syrians.
By investing in education, especially girls and young women, we invest in the generation who will rebuild Syria, once the conflict is over.
3) Humanitarian access must improve.
Lack of access to hard-to-reach areas and besieged areas is a huge obstacle for humanitarian efforts in Syria.
It is the parties to the conflict that bear the full responsibility for protecting civilians and ensuring humanitarian access.
UN Security Council resolution 2165 must be renewed.
4) We should all support the UN's challenging work.
Astana should focus on de-escalation.
Only a political solution will lay the foundation for sustainable peace.
Finally, I want thank the neighboring countries for opening up their countries for the refugees.
I also want to thank the humanitarian and development workers.
Their efforts bring not only food and shelter, but also hope, to the millions suffering both inside Syria and in the neighboring countries.