Social Affairs Minister to ST: Humanitarian Situation in Syria Improving due to Army's Achievements, Government's Efforts

Undoubtedly, the 79-month-old terror war on Syria , which coincided with unjust economic blockade imposed by western and regional countries on Syrian people, has led to a difficult humanitarian situation and produced big challenges that faced meeting the needs of affected persons in the country.

The humanitarian situation was very difficult at the first years of the war, but it improved later as a result of victories being achieved by the Syrian Arab army and allied forces, the launch of the projects of rebuilding liberated areas and the fruitful outcomes of the programs of empowering affected persons nationwide, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Rema Qadri said.

 The minister told the Syriatimes e-newspaper's reporter that the humanitarian situation in Syria is greatly improving in the Syrian state-held areas while there are still difficult humanitarian situations in terrorists-held areas and areas being besieged by terrorists.

"Recently, humanitarian situation became better in Deir Ezzour after the Syrian army and allied forces broke ISIS siege on the city," she added, pointing out that the Syrian government ensures all needs of the city's residents and works on rehabilitating infrastructures there.

Active measures 

Qadri asserted that the Syrian government has adopted important and active measures to face challenges in the humanitarian field caused by the war on the country.

"The government formed High Relief Committee to coordinate all aid and humanitarian works and to ensure aid in all sectors. It also drew up national emergency response plans for affected areas, connected UN response plans with national priorities to achieve economic and social recovery, framed programs and projects of national Non-Governmental Organizations that played key role in meeting daily needs, and formed Rebuilding Committee, which started to put plans to rehabilitate areas liberated by the Syrian army for the return of displaced persons to their homes," she said.

The minister made it clear that integrated programs are being implemented in temporary shelters- set up by the Syrian government for displaced persons- in order to meet persons' needs and to help them return to normal life.

Partners

Regarding partners of Syrian government in humanitarian field, Qadri said that civil institutions and associations established in accordance with Law No.93 for the year 1958, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), UN humanitarian organizations accredited in Syria and several licensed foreign NGOs play pivotal role in this field.

"The civil institutions and associations established in accordance with Law No.93 are executive partners in humanitarian and development works and their role integrates with state institutions' role. They have bridged gaps by helping meet the needs of affected persons and they are now actively contributing in recovery and development programs," the minister added.

She indicated that the SARC is a main part in humanitarian response and a member of High Relief Committee and Sub Relief committees. "UN humanitarian organizations contribute to relief work through annual response plans, while the licensed foreign NGOs implement work programs of several Syrian ministries in accordance with Memorandums of Understanding signed with ministries and the SARC."

The coordination between the Syrian government and UN organizations is based on agreements and it comes within humanitarian response plans and regional and strategic cooperation. However, cooperation between civil associations and High Relief Committee depends on the sub committees'  plans. 

108 cooperation agreements, 1700 voluntary associations and initiatives

A developed mechanism for cooperation between civil associations and UN organizations has been adopted and it is based on connecting cooperation projects with technical and sectorial priorities and studying the cooperation in accordance with the project feasibility study and its results.

The number of cooperation agreements signed between civil associations and UN organizations reached up to 61 in 2016, compared to 47 agreements signed in the first half of 2017.

"Around 1700 voluntary associations and initiatives are working on the ground as the Syrian government has offered facilities to them to mobilize community's efforts ," Qadri said, underlining that the government is currently focusing on programs of empowering individuals and not relief programs because the situation in the country has become better .

"Persons need programs that help them get money in order to be active in community and to be positive receiver," the minister affirmed, citing that empowerment and development programs aim to increase individuals' capabilities to be positive and it targets affected persons in temporary shelters and in all areas.

The ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has launched a project called "Development of NGOs" for making the civil society more active and for classifying the work of these organizations in accordance with international standards. There is also a study for  forming "civil action clusters" to focus on specialization in the work of NGOs.

"Syria, which is known for its civilization and productivity and dignity, is recovering after around seven years of war that was not easy at both popular and official levels," Qadri concluded.

Interviewed by: Basma Qaddour

Photos: Mahfouz Abu Hadier

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