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Syria Humanitarian Response: summary of meeting in the margins of the G20 Summit St Petersburg, 6 September 2013

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In response to the crisis in Syria and the impact on surrounding countries, leading humanitarian donors have agreed priority actions.

A group of the leading humanitarian donors to Syria met on 6 September in St Petersburg to discuss the further action needed to help the millions of innocent people whose lives are being destroyed by the conflict in Syria.

They received a briefing on the latest humanitarian situation and the outcome of the meeting of Syria’s neighbours convened in Geneva earlier this week by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

The G20 donors agreed priority steps in response to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria and neighbouring countries and to deal with the consequences of chemical weapons attacks:

  1. Work together to meet the worsening humanitarian crisis, including by increasing our collective humanitarian assistance between now and the UN General Assembly, building on pledges at the Lough Erne G8 summit and committed to address the grave shortfall in the UN funding target. This will help the UN and Syria’s neighbours deal with the increased need inside Syria and in the region. The aim must be to provide assistance to all Syrian civilians without distinction, whether internally displaced or refugees, and to host communities in neighbouring countries.

  2. Increase collective support for medical and other response to the impact of chemical weapons attacks, including medicines, decontamination tents, and medical and emergency response training.

  3. Secure agreement to OCHA’s proposals for unfettered humanitarian access inside Syria for the ICRC and international humanitarian NGOs, including through action at the UN. Priorities include securing priority humanitarian routes to ensure aid convoys can get through safely; agreeing humanitarian pauses to ensure aid reaches the most war-torn areas and the sick and wounded can be evacuated; designating officials who can work with humanitarian agencies to resolve difficulties on the ground; lifting bureaucratic obstacles such as access to visas and NGO authorisations; approving cross border assistance; protecting humanitarian staff and equipment; and respecting humanitarian principles and impartial assistance.