NGOs relieved by UN Security Council Reauthorisation of the Syria Cross Border MechanismPublished: Jan 10, 2023 Reading time: 2 minutes
NGO Forums representing over 100 Syrian and International NGOs are relieved that the UN Security Council today voted to renew the authorisation of cross-border assistance through Bab Al Hawa for an additional six months – as was envisaged in July 2022 in UNSCR 2642. The Security Council’s previous authorisation of this essential mechanism allowed humanitarian organisations to reach more than 2.7 million people per month in the northwest in 2022 and the adoption of UNSCR 2672 today will enable the continuation of this vital lifeline. This will ensure that critical food, shelter, water, protection, medical services and other humanitarian support can continue as Syrians face worsening winter conditions, ongoing conflict, the deepening impacts of economic collapse and an escalating cholera outbreak.
However, an authorisation period of only six months continues to present a significant risk to the ability to deliver aid effectively to Syrian people. Humanitarian conditions are progressively worsening and the inability of aid agencies to plan a year ahead means that assistance risks being less effective and more expensive, ultimately creating unnecessary uncertainty for those suffering most. By putting politics ahead of people and previously reducing the reauthorisation period to 6 months in July 2022 when UNSCR 2642 was adopted, the UN Security Council has made it more difficult to save lives, increasing the toll on the mental health of displaced Syrian families who have no certainty they will be able to access very basic needs for the full year ahead. This short timeline also risks leading to specialised services – those most critically needed by people in northwest Syria – being cut or curtailed, and severely limits the opportunities for gains on early recovery which require predictability to plan and deliver.
NGOs, and the Syrians we serve, now look to the Security Council to ensure that the authorisation for the UN’s cross-border mechanism remains beyond July 2023 so that the aid organisations can continue to meet needs, scale up response and ensure quality predictable lifesaving services for the most vulnerable.
Millions of civilians depend on our organisations' ability to maintain and expand humanitarian aid and services – the current humanitarian situation on the ground necessitates more humanitarian access via all aid modalities to meet the scale and complexity of growing needs. We urge Security Council members to put politics aside and to ensure that the humanitarian imperative is at the centre of decision making.