As we stand here today, Syrians are having to work harder than ever just to survive. Humanitarian suffering as a result of protracted conflict has been exacerbated by food insecurity, the COVID-19 pandemic, a dire economic situation, a water crisis, and cholera. And now winter is here.
As food insecurity reaches record highs, children in Syria are particularly at risk. Cases of severe acute malnutrition have doubled since last year. Parents are going without food as they try to keep their children from starving.
This is what is at the forefront of our minds as co-penholders when it comes the Syria humanitarian file: the needs of the Syrian people.
For the past two years, Ireland and Norway, as penholders on the humanitarian file, have listened carefully to each and every of the monthly briefings in the Council.
For each of those briefings, we have heard that the humanitarian situation in Syria has continued to deteriorate.
So before today’s meeting, what will be our last on the Council - we want to be clear: all modalities of aid delivery are absolutely necessary to save lives across Syria. All channels should be made, and kept, open. Cross-border and cross-line access must continue, and we encourage continued early recovery efforts.
Over the last two years, we have also seen the Council come together to renew the UN’s cross-border operation twice. And we want to thank Council members from both years of our term for their cooperation in securing that lifesaving decision.
It is an acknowledgement of the critical need for this operation. Cross line deliveries, while important, simply cannot compare to its size and scope.
That is why Ireland and Norway are working with all Council members to secure a confirmation of the additional six month’s authorisation foreseen in resolution 2642.
An estimated 15.3 million people in 2023 will require humanitarian assistance in Syria. This is the highest number in need since the beginning of the conflict.
We cannot allow ourselves to become numb to these staggering figures. Millions of vulnerable people, including the elderly, women and children, need this Council to act. We must continue to use all modalities to deliver for them.
Ireland and Norway echo the Secretary General, who has said that the continuation of the cross-border mechanism by the Security Council is a moral and humanitarian imperative. This Council has the ability to ensure the continuation of the mechanism, and has a duty to do so.