I told the #SecurityCouncil today that saving people’s lives cannot wait for political solutions — but unless conflicts are solved (with more unity and more determination) millions of people will continue to be exposed to uncertainty and fear, and forced displacement will grow. pic.twitter.com/tdgS6p0xfZ
— Filippo Grandi (@FilippoGrandi) December 7, 2021
During his visit in October, Mr. Grandi recalled growing queues for bread and fuel and a lack of services and livelihoods, especially outside the capital Damascus.
And amidst political complexities, slow progress in securing solutions is increasingly condemning millions to unnecessary hardship.
If reconstruction must wait for a political agreement, he underscored that humanitarian aid must encompass basic needs.
For Syrians to return to their country, Government cooperation is needed to work through legal and security obstacles as well as donor support for the country and its neighbours, including Lebanon.
An inability to make peace ramps up humanitarian work in active conflict or crisis situations while rising expectations on what can be delivered – even as options decrease on what can realistically be done.
Mr. Grandi observed that Ethiopia today is the most significant example of this.
For 13 months UNHCR has been struggling to deliver aid to populations in Tigray, Afar, Amhara and other hotspots, as combatants focused on military solutions create some of “the worst possible humanitarian conditions” to operate in.
Meanwhile failed political mediations have left 20 million people in need, and four million displaced as humanitarians, struggling to reach people with erratic, inadequate and dangerous access, are unfairly accused of taking sides, he said.
Unite for solutions
Although forced displacement continues to be driven mostly by conflict and crisis, the High Commissioner said he understood the complexity of finding political solutions to humanitarian aid delivery issues.
However, responding has become expensive, he said, noting that next year, humanitarian needs will exceed $41 billion.
As UNHCR multiplies channels of support through the Global Compact on Refugees, pledges made at Global Refugee Forum and growing involvement of new partners, Mr. Grandi told the Council that he had earlier asked donors to contribute nearly $9 billion towards its work.
“Failure to find solutions…will contribute to…less manageable human mobility, a challenge that that is evident in many countries”, he said.