Responding to the call of humanitarians on the Syrian border

Thank you President. I join others in thanking the Secretary-General, USG Griffiths and Mr. Agha for their briefings.

As we have heard, the Security Council will soon consider the UN mandate to provide cross-border aid to Syria.

The United Kingdom is confident that this Council should take decisions that alleviate humanitarian suffering and contribute to peace and security.

We base our decisions on evidence and on the advice of humanitarian actors on the ground working to save lives.

This month, a British ministerial delegation traveled to the Turkish-Syrian border and witnessed the enormous efforts made to ensure smooth and transparent cross-border humanitarian operations.

As we heard today, the situation in Syria, caused by 11 years of conflict, continues to deteriorate, with 80% of the population in need of humanitarian assistance.

The call from aid workers on the border, as well as from UN leaders and more than 32 NGO leaders last week, is clear: an end of mandate would be catastrophic.

This would mean:

· almost 2.5 million people losing food, water and basic services;

· reduced access to services for women and girls who represent 80% of the population of the North West;

· the loss of oversight by the UN’s ‘gold standard’ monitoring mechanism, which has checked more than 56,000 trucks since 2014 and prevented aid from getting into the hands of terrorists;

and it would be a devastating obstacle to efforts to fight COVID-19 in the North West, where only 5.7% of the population is fully immunized.

The closure of previous crossings should serve as a clear warning that needs in the northeast have increased since the closure of Yaroubiyah.

Across Syria, there have been more than 2.9 million indirect beneficiaries of early recovery projects this year, of the kind Under-Secretary-General Griffiths has identified and which are supported by $195 million in international funding. .

The UK will continue to play its part: we have pledged almost $200 million in humanitarian aid in 2022. This will support the early recovery underway in all parts of Syria, supporting urban and rural livelihoods , rehabilitation of water networks and quality education for children. But without a mandate renewal, early recovery plans in northwestern Syria would be jeopardized.

I therefore urge Council members to examine the evidence and listen to the experts: humanitarian needs and regional stability require that resolution 2585 be renewed and expanded.

The UN and humanitarian partners are demanding an extension of at least 12 months in order to continue to expand early recovery programmes.

There is no justification for ending this vital lifeline. As Mr. Agha said, there are more than 4 million reasons to renew the cross-border mandate and they are the ones who depend on it. We must stand with the Syrian people.

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