23 March 2016
Intra-Syrian talks enter second week
As Intra-Syrian talks entered their second week, Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura continued his meetings with the Syrian parties in Geneva. On 21 March, he met with the High Negotiations Committee (HNC), a day after his meeting with the delegation from the Syrian Government. Speaking to the media afterwards, the Special Envoy noted that it was clear that the political transition was the “mother of all issues”. “I have been reminding everyone that there is no plan “B”, so plan “B”, is basically getting through this,” he stressed. Mr. de Mistura met on 22 March with the Syrian Women’s Advisory Board delegation. Ahead of further consultations scheduled with the Government and the HNC, the Envoy said that together with his team of advisers he was working hard in getting common understanding of documents produced by both sides.
Aid convoys reach Homs and Western Aleppo
During a press stakeout in Geneva on 23 March, Special Advisor to the Special Envoy for Syria Jan Egeland said that for the first time in five months an inter-agency convoy had reached the locality of Al Houla in Homs. An additional cross-border convoy from the north had delivered humanitarian assistance to the Orem area in Aleppo. “We are now up to 384,000 people reached since the beginning of the year via inter-agency convoys in hard-to-reach areas, besieged areas, and other priority cross-line areas”, he said. The Special Adviser added that he had received verbal assurances from the Government for access to new besieged areas in rural Damascus, but not yet to Douma or Darraya. On the issue of medical supplies, Mr. Egeland said he would work to get surgical equipment to go through to the civilian population in need.
$19 million allocated for humanitarian projects in Syria
UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria Yacoub El Hillo announced on 23 March that $19 million has been allocated to partners through the Syria Humanitarian Pooled Fund (HPF). The funds will finance projects in the sectors of water, sanitation, health, food security, agriculture and education to benefit 1.4 million people in hard-to-reach and besieged areas. “With recent favourable conditions, the UN and partners will accelerate humanitarian interventions, wherever access permits, especially to communities who have been cut off from aid for months,” said Mr. El Hillo. “This is the first allocation of funds this year and it is also the biggest one to date,” he added.
Shortage of insulin threatens thousands of Syrians with diabetes, WHO
The health of thousands of Syrians with diabetes is threatened by a shortage of insulin, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on 22 March. Based on a new report, the prevalence of diabetes amongst the population has almost tripled since 1980, with more than 1 in 10 Syrians (12.6% of females and 11.2% of males) living with diabetes. More than sixty percent of insulin-dependent Syrians are at risk due to limited supplies, estimates WHO. The agency is working to fill the gap created by the disrupted health system and lack of local production, and is the main supplier of insulin in Syria.
UN refugee agency notes EU-Turkey agreement
In a statement on 18 March, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) noted the agreement between the European Union and Turkey on the situation of refugees and migrants seeking to make their way to Europe. The agency stressed that it was critical to see how it would be implemented, in keeping with safeguards set out in the agreement which at present are not in place. UNHCR noted the commitments in the agreement to increase resettlement opportunities for Syrian refugees out of Turkey, stressing that they needed to be meaningful and predictable. “The response must be about addressing the compelling needs of individuals fleeing war and persecution. Refugees need protection, not rejection”, UNHCR said.
UN Radio in Arabic
Special Envoy de Mistura says Brussels bombings shows the need to extinguish the fire of war in Syria
UNICEF: European Union/Turkey agreement puts children at risk
A glimmer of hope in Syria, an article by Kevin Kennedy, Regional Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs on the Syrian crisis, and Yacoub El Hillo, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Syria
UNRWA resumes aid distribution to the besieged Palestinians in Syria and hopes for sustainable access to the affected population
Special Envoy de Mistura describes his meeting with the opposition delegation as fruitful but criticises the humanitarian convoys being blocked from affected areas
On #HappinessDay, watch & share this @johngreen video featuring a teenager, writer & Syrian refugee http://youtu.be/CDaPg3q7br4 via @Refugees -19 March
What happened this wk at the UN? 5 yrs of Syria conflict, @WHO report on unhealthy environments, @AshleyJudd + more https://youtu.be/J6bog_hb2Dc -19 March
As war enters its 6th year in Syria, here are 5 ways @WFP offers help http://j.mp/1MgddA7 #IamSyrian pic.twitter.com/U614uXrsUG-19 March
50+% of hospitals & health clinics are no longer functioning in Syria - @WHO https://goo.gl/6oShFq #Syria5Years pic.twitter.com/ZSj6kKONIc--19 March
UNHCR says @refugees fleeing Syria need better opportunities in first countries of asylum http://trib.al/9cWDkmg pic.twitter.com/RhKo1X91Ei-19 March
Latest news on #SyriaTalks is here: http://j.mp/1XBuFjd 1https://twitter.com/UNGeneva/status/710843727019782146 - 9 March
“I want to represent all the refugees because I want to show that after the pain and the storm comes calm days.”
Syrian refugee Yusra, 17, swam from Turkey to Greece to save her life. Now she is training in Germany to compete at The Olympic Games this summer, as a Rio 2016 Refugee Olympic Athlete.
See her inspiring story here.
https://www.facebook.com/UNHCR/videos/vb.13204463437/10154839909783438/?type=2&theater - 21 March
Social media campaigns
#RememberUs - #Syria5Years is an advocacy and fundraising campaign to tell the story of Palestine refugees in Syria after five years of armed conflict. In the last five years, the Palestine refugees of Syria have been experiencing tremendous hardship with over 60 per cent of the 560,000 registered with UNRWA displaced throughout Syria and further afield. Through the campaign, UNRWA remembers the victims to the Syrian conflict, in particular the Palestine refugees, many of whom have lost their communities, family members, houses and livelihoods. To date, 16 UNRWA staff members have lost their lives in the armed conflict in Syria. This is the largest death toll for any single United Nations agency working in Syria.
#MyVoiceMySchool- #ýMyvoicemyschool, running for a second year, is an educational project linking Palestine refugee youth in Syria with their peers in England and Belgium.
Through live video conversations and customized teaching materials, students and teachers explore how education can help them meet their future aspirations.
#IamSyrian is a global engagement campaign on social media platforms launched by the World Food Programme (WFP) at the London Syria conference in February 2016. It offers global citizens the opportunity to show solidarity with the Syrian people by sharing their stories, sending messages of support and demonstrating how the world continues to care about their plight. The campaign will culminate in an exhibition at the UN General Assembly in September 2016.
ShareTheMeal is a smartphone application launched by the UN World Food Programme in November 2015 to support refugee children who have fled the conflict in Syria to neighbouring countries. The free app is available for iOS and Android app stores worldwide. Users can make donations and start sharing meals with hungry children. Contributions will benefit Syrian refugee children in Jordan who are part of WFP’s school meals programme.
Relevant links to UN Secretariat, Agencies, Funds and Programmes on Syria
DPI Focus Page on Syria:
UN System agencies :
UN Women: http://www.unwomen.org/
OCHA: http://unocha.org/syria , twitter.com/ocha_syria , facebook.com/UNOCHA.Syria
UN on social media: