The Fourth Conference on "Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region" took place on 30 June 2020 in a virtual format. It was hosted by the European Union (EU) and co-chaired with the United Nations (UN). The Conference was preceded by virtual Days of Dialogue and by a week of side events.
Building upon the work of the conferences held in Kuwait (2013-15), London (2016) and Brussels (2017-19), Brussels IV renewed and strengthened the political, humanitarian and financial commitment of the international community to support the Syrian people, the neighbouring countries and the communities most affected by the conflict. The Conference brought together 84 delegations including 57 States, 10 regional organisations and International Financial Institutions as well as 17 UN agencies.
The Conference acknowledged Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey’s extraordinary solidarity and tremendous efforts towards Syrian refugees even as some of the countries face severe socio-economic challenges. Iraq's and Egypt's efforts were also highlighted and commended. The Conference reiterated the unwavering support of the international community to Syria's neighbours in addressing the specific short, medium and long-term challenges that they are facing as a result of the Syria conflict and of wider development challenges.
Participants to the Brussels IV Conference announced their pledges for both Syria and the region: US$ 5.5 billion (€ 4.9 billion) for 2020 and multi-year pledges of close to US$ 2.2 billion (€ 2 billion) for 2021 and beyond. In addition, international financial institutions and donors announced around $ 6.7 billion (€ 6 billion) in loans on concessional terms. The Conference warmly welcomed the delivery by the international community of funds well in excess of pledges made at Brussels III for 2019. Co-chairs and main donors agreed to widen the resource base and ensure greater timeliness, predictability, coherence and effectiveness of the aid. The pledges made at Brussels IV are set out in the attached fundraising annex.
The humanitarian and resilience needs of people inside Syria and in the region remain enormous. In 2020, the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for Syria amounts to US$ 3.4 billion to provide immediate life-saving, humanitarian, protection and resilience support to 9.8 million people within the country. In addition, US$ 5.2 billion is required for the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP) to provide humanitarian and resilience-related assistance to over nine million refugees and vulnerable host communities in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.
The worsening economic context in Syria and the region and the protracted nature of the crisis warrants further support.
US$ 384 million are required to address the public health and socio-economic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis in Syria, with an additional US$ 806 million needed across the region, in particular to provide immediate assistance as well as to support host countries’ national systems and recovery plans, vulnerable families and host communities.
In spite of the logistical challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Brussels IV saw an impressive effort to reach out to civil society representatives in Syria and the region. More than 1400 organisations were consulted on all key topics pertaining to the international response to the Syria conflict throughout the preparations for the Conference, including through extensive online consultations and many interactive side events over the week preceding the Ministerial meeting. In keeping with the practice of the Brussels Conferences, two Days of Dialogue were held virtually on 22 and 23 June where Syrian, Jordanian, Lebanese, Turkish and international Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) interacted with Ministers and senior officials from refugee-hosting countries, the EU and UN agencies.
The EU also launched an online consultative space for Syrian civil society to promote engagement beyond the Brussels Conferences.
A diverse group of Syrian civil society organisations also met in closed-door sessions of the Civil Society Support Room (CSSR) on the margins of the Conference to exchange views on the future of Syria, the political process in Geneva, the needs and challenges facing Syrian civil society across the spectrum, human rights and humanitarian protection issues, and a range of livelihood issues concerning the Syrian people. They presented their views to EU High Representative/VicePresident of the European Commission (HR/VP) Josep Borrell and UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir O. Pedersen.
Brussels IV put special emphasis on Syrian women and on organisations representing their views, particularly women-led organisations, recognising women’s vital importance in creating the foundation for sustainable peace in Syria in line with UN Security Council resolution 1325 (2000). The Syrian Women’s Advisory Board held a closed-door session with HR/VP Borrell and UN Special Envoy Pedersen where it provided insights on how to advance women’s meaningful participation and ensure that the women’s rights agenda remains core to the political process.