No Surprises at UNICEF discussion on the Future of Syrian Children

By Jay Ng, for The Guardian

Committee delegates commenced their 3-day conference today to discuss pressing issues that Syrian children face domestically and their situation as refugee children in intermediate countries. Delegates have pointed out that in order to reach feasible outcomes, specific topics regarding refugee wellbeing should be identified and discussed one at a time to avoid confusions and disorganized debates. Education, healthcare and sanitation received overwhelming focus amongst the majority of delegates during the discussion.

Delegates such as Germany, France and UK are evidently, and unsurprisingly, standing strong as allies with the United States.

The highlight of the meeting is the strong stance held by the Russia Federation. While all groups have all agreed that there is an urgent need to expand actions targeting Syrian children so as to avoid a ‘lost generation.’ The Russian delegate demands a change on how the committee approaches foreign aid delivery. They believe UNICEF is not sufficient enough to deliver funding.

Russia proposed to stop foreign aid distributions to Syria as it has not been working as effectively as the committee projected. Funds are not reaching into the hands of the most vulnerable groups. The committee, therefore, should source individual aid for countries surrounding Syria due to the fact that they are stretching their limits to accommodate the influx of refugees. This suggestion is favored by Jordan, which reminded members at the meeting that other countries should share the responsibility to take care of women and child refugees. Russian delegate also reaffirmed their support to the Assad government.

Syrian delegate positively described the day’s discussion, as he was ‘happy with how states are approaching’, namely the United States was ‘on side on some issues with us’.Discussion will continue today and tomorrow, with live Twitter coverage available via @TheGuardian2013.

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