Syria, seven years into the crisis and counting. Over 13 million Syrians need humanitarian assistance, and of these six million are internally displaced and five million fled to other countries. Majority of people affected by the crisis are children and youth; some children have no memories of life before the conflict.
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme continues to demonstrate its ability to meet contemporary development and peace challenges. In 2016, UNV’s response to the refugee and migrant influx showcased this flexibility and rapid action capabilities through the deployment of hundreds of UN Volunteers who support humanitarian and development initiatives benefiting Syrian refugees and their host communities.
Responding to the refugee and migrant influx in Europe
Damascus, Syria. / Mr Kurbanov will meet with United Nations entity partners to discuss the United Nations humanitarian and development response to the crisis in Syria and its impact in the region. While in Lebanon and Jordan, Mr Kurbanov will also meet with some of the 222 UN Volunteers deployed as part of UNV’s Syria crisis response across the region (in Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey and Egypt.)
UNV Deputy Executive Coordinator Toily Kurbanov participated in the joint Jobs Make the Difference side event at the Brussels Syria Conference. He offered valuable insight on the value of UN Volunteers and online volunteering in the reconstruction of Syria and the livelihoods of refugees in the region. The full transcript of his remarks is below.
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is a global programme and a common service to the UN system administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). As we meet there are 4,200 UN Volunteers contributing to peace and development under various UN agency programmes around the world. This includes 350 volunteers in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Egypt most of whom contribute to the regional response to the Syrian crisis.
An international meeting of United Nations representatives is underway today and tomorrow, January 23-24, in Helsinki to discuss and agree on a comprehensive relief plan to provide aid in strife-torn Syria. UN Volunteers are an essential part of the response to this humanitarian crisis. Highly qualified and largely from developing countries themselves, they provide relief and ensure the delivery of basic social services to refugees, as well as their host communities, and promote peace-building.
Later, TIRs cross into Syria as aid convoys under the supervision of the UN. The aid is then distributed by the UN's local partners in Syria. The whole operation is coordinated by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA).