- The plan intends to respond to the arising humanitarian needs based on developments projected by humanitarian actors from the Gaziantep hub for the cross-border operation into northwest Syria from Turkey. It identifies access, funding, capability and capacity of partners as possible constraints that can challenge the humanitarian work and response plan implementation. How do you assess these four constraints, and which one is more challenging within the Syrian context?
Actually, all these four constraints are interlinked. In principle, donors are still having willingness to fund Projects and support humanitarian Works. On the other hand, changing parameters especially for Access, negatively affects funding and also execution of the programs. Capacities of partners are sufficient to deliver services and programs but they are also affected by the recent military confrontation in Idlib region. Some Donors are more flexible and responsive to the changing environment, but we are also facing difficulties with some Donors which do not have adaptive strategies to solve problems and avoid interruptions and delays. It seems that stability of the situation is vital to shape the Access strategy and secure funding for the programs.
2. The Readiness and Response Plan notes the current dynamic, in which displacement trends are fluid and not always predictable, with high levels of mobility among the population, and calls the humanitarian response to be flexible to address specific needs as they arise in different locations. Particularly for the IDPs emergency food assistance, shelter support, CVA are listed among many other needs. Taking into consideration particularly winterization, which needs you identify as an INGO working in the region? Please also exemplify if possible from previous years responses.
Changing security structure and increasing IDPs respectively negatively affect our and our partners’ capability to provide sustainable support and programming in the region. We are working closely with the donors to reshape programming and provide emergency response prior to winter conditions. It is also vague whether IDPs will be able to reach and be accepted to Turkey controlled areas. Even in this case, preparations are not sufficient and close cooperation is needed between NGOs, Donors and UN Agencies considering possibility of diffused IDP populations.
3. The plan identifies proactive engagement with Turkey as necessary to understand what dynamics will exist to allow for cross border access and facilitation in the fluid operational environment. As an INGO based in Turkey and operating in NWS, could you please evaluate challenges and/or best practices of engagement with Turkey? And how UN agencies can support/facilitate these relations?
While recognizing Turkey’s security concerns especially for cross border Access, it is also clear that cross border activities are essential to reach and provide humanitarian support to NWS. NGO Forum and its working groups are facilitating close cooperation and coordination among pier NGOs and their partners to share their experience and formulize a common strategy to deliver messages to Turkish Authorities. On the other hand, there are different mechanisms and working practices at each Governorship which are responsible of NW Syria. Inconsistent approaches would be considered as one of the main challenges for cross border access and programing. UN OCHA and other UN Agencies still seemed as the most reputable instrument to vocalize the common needs and challenges to the Turkish Authorities. Donor Country’s diplomatic efforts to solve common and ad hoc challenges would be an option but UN Agencies are still the major facilitators who can do this facilitation and advocacy systematically. Their efforts are valuable yet it is important that all humanitarian actors are advised about the outcomes of their efforts and engaged where relevant in a timely manner. A briefing from UN agencies, particularly from OCHA on the advocacy efforts taken for facilitating access would be useful, to remain informed and to act in accordance.