The conflict in Syria has affected millions of people both inside the country and the region since 2011, and the humanitarian crisis continues to deteriorate. More than 17.8 million Syrians depend on humanitarian aid; and with 6.5 million internally displaced persons and 4.3 million refugees it accounts for around one fifth of the 60 million refugees worldwide. According to the United Nations, this is the highest level since the Second World War.
Even though Europe also feels the effects of the influx of refugees, Syria and its direct neighbours still bear the brunt. For this reason, Switzerland’s largest humanitarian operation is currently concentrating on the region, where it helps to meet humanitarian needs and strengthen the resilience of the affected population. Swiss Humanitarian Aid has four lines of action there: direct action, deployment of technical experts to UN agencies, humanitarian aid via partner organisations and supporting international coordination and humanitarian diplomacy. It contributes to alleviate the suffering of the people in the region.
The Syria crisis with its vast refugee movement has dominated the international humanitarian agenda over the past five years. This has led to other crises and disasters, such as South Sudan, being pushed into the background, often leaving them underfunded. For this reason, this year’s annual conference will not only focus on Syria but also shed some light onto humanitarian crises that are less in the public eye.