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57 countries and more than 20 international organisations and UN agencies came together to participate in an international donors' conference. High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini opened the ministerial meeting of the conference and co-chaired the first plenary session with UN Special Envoy Geir Pedersen on 14 March. The Russian Federation was represented by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin.
On 12-13 March, the 'days of dialogue' brought together more than 1000 participants: civil society representatives from Syria and the region, ministers and decision-makers from countries neighbouring Syria, donor countries, regional organisations, UN agencies, and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. They discussed key themes affecting the Syrian people and the international response to the crisis.
"The two main purposes of the Conference are: first of all, to support the UN-led political process. <…> winning the peace will require a political Syrian-owned process led by the United Nations in Geneva. <…> The second reason is to mobilize international financial support for the Syrians, for humanitarian aid both inside the country and in the neighbouring countries," said High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini upon arrival at the ministerial meeting.
The conference succeeded in mobilising aid to Syrians inside the country and in the neighbouring countries, including for hosting communities, through pledges totalling US$ 7 billion (€ 6.2 billion) for 2019, and multi-year pledges of close to US$ 2.4 billion (€ 2.1 billion) for 2020 and beyond. The humanitarian needs continue to be extremely high. Over 11 million Syrians are in need of humanitarian assistance, and more than 5.6 million Syrian refugees are displaced outside the country.
"Pledging is an important signal of the international community's solidarity with the people of Syria inside the country and with the neighbours of Syria, hosting huge numbers of refugees, and feeling the strain of that generosity," said Mark Lowcock, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.
The co-chairs adopted a joint declaration.
On the evening of Wednesday 13 March, the High Representative Federica Mogherini and UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen hosted a dinner with Syrian women. It brought together leading female figures of Syria's civil society, foreign ministers as well as EU and UN representatives, focusing on the perspectives of Syrian women on the future of their country.