London- With a video illustrating the suffering of the Syrians and a frustrating opening speech, the first activity of the international organizations and civil society meetings at the Royal Society in central London was launched prior to the “Supporting Syria and the Region” conference, yesterday in London.
More than 70 heads of state, the UN Secretary General, heads of international organizations, NGOs and private sector representatives are gathering in London for the key conference to pledge their support for the growing aid needs of the Syrian people.
Aid agencies gathered ahead of the major international funding conference hosted by the United Kingdom, Germany, Kuwait, Norway and the United Nations, the two-day conference “Supporting Syria and the Region”. It aims at generating increased funding and significant new help for the immediate and longer-term needs of those affected by the Syrian conflict.
Charities urged more funding and protection for refugees on the eve of the talks.
Attendees concluded yesterday that no matter how much donations Syrians will receive, they will not contribute to effectively changing the situation on the ground as long as they do not address the root of war and destruction in Syria.
This was confirmed by Colin Byrne, representative of the German Foreign Ministry abroad, to Asharq Al-Awsat on the sidelines of the meeting.
Secretary of State for International Development, Justine Greening, said that tomorrow’s conference is “a critical moment for us to step up our efforts and help those affected by the Syria crisis”.
She said that the UK has pledged more than £1bn in aid – its biggest ever humanitarian response to a crisis.
However, she said more aid needs to be down and called for the international community to come together to scale up their aid effort.
“What we have done so far just isn’t enough. So this conference can and must galvanize significant new funding from around the world to not just meet the immediate needs of people caught up in this crisis, but to meet the longer term needs as well,” Ms. Greening said.