Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message, as recorded for delivery, to the Brussels donor conference on Syria, today:
Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your continued solidarity with the people of Syria.
After nearly a decade of war and economic hardship, the scale of suffering remains shocking. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed. Over 12 million Syrians — half the pre-war population — are displaced, including 5.6 million who have fled the country.
Millions of people are going hungry or are malnourished. Nine out of 10 people are now living in poverty. The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a doubling of food prices. Over 11 million people inside Syria need emergency assistance and protection, just to survive.
For millions of these people, the United Nations and our humanitarian partners are their only hope. We provide life-saving food, health care, sanitation facilities, education and protection services to millions of Syrians every month. We help to address their trauma and provide legal advice so they can start to rebuild their lives. This is only possible because of your generous support. Thank you.
This year, I urge you not only to renew, but to step up your financial, humanitarian and political commitments to the Syrian people, and the countries that are hosting refugees.
Before the war, Syria had a proud record of generous help for refugees. We must support Syrians and help them through this crisis so that they can once again take up their full place in the international community.
Looking forward, only a political solution can end the suffering in Syria. The United Nations-supported political process to achieve sustainable peace is moving slowly. I urge all those with influence to help Syrians find common ground. Until they can live in peace, we stand with the people of Syria.
Thank you for your support.