I speak on behalf of Brazil and Switzerland, co-penholders of the Syrian humanitarian file. We thank Special Envoy Geir Pedersen, Director of Operations of OCHA, Edem Wosornu, and the International Rescue Committee’s Middle East and North Africa Regional Vice President, Ms. Su’ad Jarbawi for their briefings. We also acknowledge the presence of representatives from Syria and Türkiye at today's meeting.
Switzerland and Brazil welcome the resumption of UN humanitarian deliveries into northwest Syria via the Bab al-Hawa crossing since September 19. So far, 65 trucks filled with essential aid from UNICEF, WFP, WHO, UNHCR, and IOM had successfully passed through Bab al-Hawa.
We express our gratitude to USG Griffiths and his team both at headquarters and in the field for their dedication in operationalizing the exchange of letters between the Syrian government and OCHA, thereby ensuring the use of Bab Al-Hawa. This crossing remains central to the UN’s humanitarian assistance efforts in Syria. The resumption of the deliveries is promising, and we are hopeful for its sustainability.
We appreciate the current collaboration between Syria and OCHA. With the extension by three months of the UN’s use of Bab Al-Salam and Al-Rai border crossings, the UN's outreach now spans three border crossings, assisting 2.7 million people in need monthly. We also reiterate the necessity of predictable arrangements to respond to those ever increasing humanitarian needs on the ground and call on all actors involved to not limit the duration of the permissions.
Syria's worsening humanitarian crisis is deeply concerning. The UN's role in delivering aid remains vital, especially as an increasing number of Syrians rely on humanitarian assistance. It is imperative that all aid modalities — including cross-border and cross-line — remain available to humanitarian actors, ensuring rapid, unhindered, and sustainable access across Syria.
Humanitarian operations in Syria must continue to be undertaken in respect of the principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, and independence. It is vital that all parties to the armed conflict, with no exception under no pretexts, uphold these foundational humanitarian norms, and international humanitarian law, including their obligation to allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief for civilians in need. Moreover, the continuous and rigorous monitoring of cross-border humanitarian deliveries is essential to ensure that these principles are lived up to.
All parties to the conflict must respect humanitarian and human rights law, guaranteeing the safety and well-being of the people living in Syria. We also welcome OCHA’s commitment to continue to appeal to donors to provide the necessary funding for the Humanitarian Response Plan.
As of 13 September, more than halfway through the year, the Humanitarian Response Plan for 2023 is only some 28% funded, raising serious concerns by the humanitarian community. Sustainable funding is needed for their implementation. In addition, we would like to stress the importance of early recovery projects to contribute to the reduction of needs in the long-term.
We appreciate OCHA’s dedication and transparent approach to the delivery of assistance to Northwest Syria under the new consent-based model. We are grateful for OCHA's commitment to keep the Council informed – as it should remain informed. Should there be hindrances in humanitarian access, knowing their occurrence and comprehending their causes is imperative for timely responses.
Switzerland and Brazil have always been and remain fully committed to work in good faith within the Council, in contact with all stakeholders, so that it fulfills its collective responsibility towards the Syrian people.