SC: Syria humanitarian

Statement held by Ireland's Permanent Representative to the UN, Mr. Fergal Mythen on behalf of Norway and Ireland, in the UN Security Council meeting on Syria 29. August 2022.

Thank you, Mr President.

I deliver this statement today on behalf of Norway and Ireland, as co-penholders on the Syria Humanitarian file. Many thanks to you, ASG Msuya for your briefing today. As ever, the severe need of those on the ground is clear.

Humanitarian needs are at their highest ever levels, and civilians continue to suffer due to armed conflict and violence. 87 civilians – including 25 children – died between 1 June and 25 July as a result of hostilities.

It is deeply disturbing that many of the attacks resulting in these deaths appeared to target civilians or take place near locations of a civilian character. We call on all parties to comply with international humanitarian law, including the prohibition on indiscriminate attacks, and the obligation to take all feasible precautions to avoid harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure.

We commend the UN and its partners for their considerable work across all 14 governorates, in a challenging humanitarian landscape. We welcome progress on early recovery, and the commitment shown to continue in this regard, including the 51 projects that contribute to the provision of electricity to support basic services. Almost 1.7 million people benefitted directly and indirectly from early recovery and resilience efforts in June and July. This important work must continue.

As co-penholders, Ireland and Norway strongly support the use of all modalities to deliver aid to the millions of Syrians in desperate need. We welcome the completion of the sixth cross-line delivery, earlier this month. We encourage continued progress on cross line missions, and again commend OCHA and other UN agencies for their significant efforts in this regard. We reiterate the call for all parties to support cross-line deliveries, including by providing timely security guarantees.

Soaring food prices, magnified by global inflation rates and the economic crisis have exacerbated food insecurity. It is extremely concerning that WFP has been forced to reduce rations to less than 1,200 calories per person in north western Syria, and to below 1,000 calories in other areas. Increased funding is urgent, not only to expand the vital work of the UN and NGOs, but to maintain the life-saving assistance currently in place.

Soaring heat and critically low water supply are placing lives at risk. Civilian access to water is curtailed in numerous areas, and a lack of irrigation is threatening crop production as well as seeds for next year’s yield, exacerbating already significant food insecurity. We knew that this season would come, just as we know that winter will present further fatal challenges.

While resolution 2642 allows the vital work of the cross border mechanism to continue for six months, it is imperative that this Council confirms the decision to further extend its mandate. The cross border mechanism remains a critical, irreplaceable lifeline for millions.

As co-penholders, Norway and Ireland will continue to be guided by the deep humanitarian needs of the people of Syria. The Council must work together with addressing these needs as our focus.