Norway increases support for Covid-19 vaccination in Syria

‘Norway remains deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation in Syria, which has further deteriorated during the Covid-19 pandemic. That is why Norway is now providing NOK 20 million to the World Health Organization to support vaccination efforts and other measures to combat the pandemic,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.

Syria has received Covid-19 vaccines under the Covax global vaccine initiative. The World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) are assisting the Syrian authorities in implementing the vaccination programme, working in cooperation with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. The vaccine doses will be distributed to all areas of Syria, including to northwestern Syria across the border from Turkey.

‘The conflict in Syria has created one of the worst humanitarian crises of our time; some 13.4 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection. In addition, there is a significant need for Covid-19 vaccines in Syria. Despite this, only 13 % of the funding needed to implement the WHO’s strategic preparedness and response plan for Syria has been provided,’ Ms Eriksen Søreide said.

Norway is one of the largest donors to humanitarian efforts in Syria and its neighbouring countries, and has contributed over NOK 15 billion during the ten years the conflict has lasted. This makes the Syria crisis Norway’s largest ever humanitarian effort. In 2021, Norway will provide at least NOK 1.6 billion in support.

‘During its two-year period as an elected member of the UN Security Council, Norway, together with Ireland, has taken on special responsibility for humanitarian issues in the Syria crisis. As a member of the Security Council, we will work to facilitate safe and unimpeded humanitarian access throughout Syria for the UN and humanitarian organisations,’ Ms Eriksen Søreide said.

The situation in Syria was discussed at a meeting of the global coalition against Isil in Rome 28 June, in which the Norwegian Foreign Minister participated.