'Turn Syria crisis into opportunity', UN official urges global community

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Philippe Lazzarini. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

It's time to "walk the talk" and turn the Syria crisis in to an opportunity, a senior UN official has urged global leaders and the humanitarian community as the conflict in the country enters its seventh year.

Philippe Lazzarini, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon, made the remarks in an opinion article entitled, "Ahead of the Brussels Conference" due to be held on Wednesday aimed at drawing support for the future of Syria and the region.

Lebanon hosts more than one million people who have fled the brutal conflict although it is also facing an economic slowdown as well as security and demographic challenges.

Jocelyne Sambira has the story.

The Brussels Conference for Syria will be co-chaired by the UN, European Union, Germany, Kuwait, Norway, Qatar and the United Kingdom.

More than 70 countries, together with civil society organizations are meeting in the European city to take stock of progress made since last year London's conference. 

Two record humanitarian and development appeals amounting to US$ 7.73 billion were launched last January. 

According to Philippe Lazzarini, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon, the Brussels conference seeks to reaffirm the support of the international community to address key remaining challenges in Syria and in neighbouring countries.

It's also an important opportunity to promote Lebanon's example and to embrace a new way of working together, he said. 

For Lebanon, Mr Lazzarini underscored, it would mean moving beyond the short-term humanitarian and stabilisation efforts towards longer-term efforts, focusing on economic growth and job creation. 

He praised Lebanon for its "unwavering" hospitality for those in need but asked how the country will cope with this crisis with no end in sight. 

The UN official urged the global community to not let the legendary Lebanese hospitality turn into a "hospitality fatigue". 

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations. 

Duration: 1’20″

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