Brussels V Conference ‘Supporting the future of Syria and the region’: highlighting the role of civil society

The fifth edition of the Brussels Conference on ‘Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region’ (#SyriaConf2021) started this morning with the Day of Dialogue with civil society organisations from Syria and the region. Today’s discussions with civil society, Ministers and senior decision-makers from refugee-hosting countries, the EU, the United Nations, international NGOs and other international partners focused on the main issues at stake in the Syrian crisis. The debates are designed around an online consultation run by the European Union in March. Panels on ‘Economic development and sustainable livelihoods in the region’; on ‘Food Security and Livelihoods Humanitarian Response’ and on ‘A Path to Justice and Peace: Accountability, Detainees Release and Missing Persons in Syria’ can be followed online. Tomorrow, High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell and UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordination, Mark Lowcock, will co-chair the opening session of the Ministerial segment of the Conference, followed by interventions by UN Secretary General António Guterres, UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen, representatives of the three main refugee-hosting Neighbours Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey and other participants. It will gather over 77 delegates from more than 50 countries and over a dozen international organisations. Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, will also address the crucial political, regional development and humanitarian aspects of the crisis. Civil society representatives from inside Syria and the region will convey the main recommendations resulting from the online consultation process. The entire Ministerial meeting will be live on EbS as well as web-streamed and starts at 13:00. A press conference with High Representative Borrell and UN Under-Secretary-General Mark Lowcock will take place at 14:50. Pledges will be announced in the closing session at +/- 20:00. From 15 to 26 March, a record number of 40 side events hosted by EU Member States, partner countries, UN agencies and other international organisations also took place online. The side events focused on a wide range of topics, from disability to independent media. To highlight the diversity and the richness of Syrian culture, the EU, in cooperation with Lagrange Points Brussels, is organising four virtual concerts featuring a variety of Syrian musicians, Sufi whirling and poetry artists; an online introduction to Syrian cuisine; and an exhibition at Lagrange Points Brussels. All videos remain available online. Portraits from the exhibition ‘Voices from Syria and the Region’ are still available online and around Brussels, check the locations here. More information on the Conference, including the full programme and link to the live webcast, is available here. See also a media advisory and factsheets on EU’s response to the Syrian crisis and on EU assistance’s impact inside Syria, in JordanLebanon and Turkey.