The EU is organising the fifth Brussels Conference on ‘Supporting the future of Syria and the region next 29 and 30 March 2021, co-chaired with the United Nations. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this two-day Conference will take place in a virtual format.
With 10 years in conflict, the COVID-19 pandemic and a general regional economic deterioration, the situation in Syria and the region is even more critical. Building on previous editions, this year’s conference will be an opportunity to support the Syrian people and mobilise the international community in support of a comprehensive and credible political solution to the Syria conflict, in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254.
The Brussels V Conference will address the most critical humanitarian and resilience issues affecting Syrians and communities hosting refugees from Syria, both inside the country and in the region and renew the international community’s political and financial support for Syria’s neighbours, in particular Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey as well as Egypt and Iraq.
The Conference will start with the “Day of Dialogue” on 29 March featuring panel discussions with speakers from a broad variety of governmental and non-governmental institutions.
The ministerial part of the conference on 30 March will virtually bring together participants from at least 77 delegations including 50 countries, 10 regional organisations and international financial institutions as well as 17 UN agencies at ministerial level to discuss all key aspects of the Syrian crisis: political, humanitarian and regional development. Eight civil society representatives from inside Syria and the region will convey the main recommendations resulting from the online consultation process that preceded the Ministerial.
The EU with its Member States is the largest donor addressing the consequences of the Syrian crisis with close to €25 billion mobilised since 2011. This conference will be the main pledging event for Syria and the region in 2021. Last year’s pledges amounted to €6.9 billion and two thirds of the overall pledge came from the European Union and its Member States. The international community delivered in excess by 54% to meet the additional challenges that faced the region, in particular the COVID-19 pandemic. A financial tracking report is available here.
At the Ministerial session, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission Josep Borrell will co-chair the conference on behalf of the European Union, together with Olivér Várhelyi, Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, and Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management. On the UN side, the conference is held under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, who will be represented by the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordination Mark Lowcock. He will be accompanied by the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and the Administrator of the UN Development Programme Achim Steiner.
Programme of the meeting
Day of Dialogue
The Day of Dialogue taking place on 29 March will be web-streamed on the Conference website and on Facebook. The event brings together civil society, NGOs, international organisations, refugee hosting countries, the EU and the UN community. The audience has the possibility to submit written questions for the panellists to answer during the discussions, through an interactive platform or on twitter with the hashtags #SyriaConf2021 and #DayofDialogue.
During this meeting, co-chaired by the European Union and the United Nations, foreign ministers will have a political discussion on the multiple aspects of the Syria crisis and the pledges will be announced.
A press conference by the High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell and the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock will take place at 14:50 and will be live on EbS. Journalists who would like to take part in the press conference and are not accredited to the EU institutions can request a 1-day accreditation here. The deadline to request accreditation is Monday 29 March, 15:00.
The closing session will take place at 20:00. The total amount of pledges from the international community to the Syrian people and host communities will be announced during this session.
A co-chairs’ declaration is expected to be published at the end of the day.
Since 15 March, over 40 side events have been taking place in the margins of the Brussels V Conference, initiated and organised by civil society organisations, participating countries and international organisations. An outdoor photo exhibition is organised by the EU Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian Crisis can be seen in ten municipalities of the Brussels region. To highlight the richness of the Syrian culture, virtual concerts featuring a variety of Syrian musicians, Sufi whirling and poetry artists; an online introduction to Syrian cuisine; and a painting exhibition are also organised in cooperation with Lagrange Points Brussels.