10 Years of Resilience: Celebrating the SRTF’s Journey, Reflecting on Milestones, & Envisioning a Bright Future

Frankfurt - Friday, 23 June 2023 – Hosted by its Trustee, KfW Development Bank, the Syria Recovery Trust Fund (SRTF),and donor country representatives commemorated the Fund’s unique 10-year journey, yesterday, in Frankfurt, Germany. The celebration event coincided with the SRTF’s two-day Steering Board (SB) and Management Committee (MC) meetings which were hosted by KfW as well.


The event witnessed profound reflections on the SRTF's journey in serving and alleviating the suffering of the Syrian people through its transformative, impact-driven Recovery and Stabilisation programmes. These programmes have, to date, touched the lives of around 14 million individuals in Syria.


On behalf of the Trustee, KfW, Ms. Tatjana Bruns, MC Chairwoman of the SRTF initiated the event with a cordial welcome message delivered by Mr. Marc Engelhardt, the Director of Middle East at KfW Development Bank. Mr. Engelhardt stated “For me, the 10th anniversary of the SRTF marks an occasion of both grief and pride. Grief because we are looking back at 10 years of conflict, displacement, and violence in Syria. Pride, because the SRTF flourished in a way that no one expected 10 years ago and became a leading institution to providing tangible support to the Syrian People. At KfW, we are extremely grateful for the trust of the donors of the SRTF and we are fully committed to staying engaged as the SRTF’s trustee in the future.” Subsequently, a brief video highlighting the achievements of the SRTF over the last ten years was presented, paving the way for a panel discussion.


The panel discussion offered an invaluable opportunity for the three original donor country representatives, the Syrian Opposition Coalition (SOC), and the SRTF Management Unit (MU) represented by its COO to share their insights and vision for the coming years and impart the lessons learned. This session provided a platform for the speakers to exchange experiences and touching stories as well as chart the course for a successful future for the SRTF to better serve the Syrian people.


The SRTF has been at the forefront working tirelessly towards the rehabilitation and stabilisation of conflict-torn Syria. Over the past decade, the Fund has approved around 110 Recovery projects and Stabilisation interventions in key sectors, including Food Security, Health, Agriculture, Electricity, Education, Water, Waste Management, and Access to Finance/Livelihoods, serving over 375 communities across eight (8) governorates inside Syria. Through its impact-driven projects, the SRTF has made a tangible difference in the lives of countless Syrians, offering hope, stability, and resilience to those affected by the conflict.


The panel discussion highlighted a number of important points reflecting on the achievements of the SRTF and vision for the future; Representing UAE, H.E Mr. Rashid Al Humeiri said: “We are pleased with the progress, impact on people’s lives, and the journey the SRTF has reached so far. The UAE looks forward to the time to come when the experience and learning from the SRTF would be used for a whole of Syria recovery”.


Representing Germany, Ms. Katrin Buchholz: Our overarching goal in Syria remains a political solution to the conflict in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254. Accordingly, as for the Syrian regime our position remains unchanged. As long as Assad is not willing to engage meaningfully this political process and as long as his regime is still committing egregious human rights violations every day, Germany and the EU are not prepared to consider normalising relations, provide reconstruction assistance for the regime, or lift sanctions. At the same time, rather than just sit idly by until that day comes, we co-founded the SRTF as an instrument for the opposition and the Syrian civil society to meet the most urgent needs of the Syrian people, to create opportunities and prospects inside Syria, and thereby to provide incentives to end the repression. Over the past ten years, the Fund has not only built an impressive track record of improving the lives of millions through its many projects. It has also proved remarkably agile in responding to shifts on the ground, be it the liberation of the northeast from Daesh or the devastating earthquakes earlier this year, when it was among the first to provide assistance and help stabilize the situation. We will continue to work hard towards another shift for the SRTF to adapt to: the end of the conflict and the building of a peaceful future in Syria.”


Representing USA, Mrs. Gayle Schwartz mentioned how she considered her work to support the SRTF among the most rewarding of her career. She added: The SRTF has been and continues to be one of the most successful and vital institutions to help the Syrian people. The United States joined the SRTF as one of the three original donors.  We saw it as a way to leverage other donor funding to collectively address larger-scale needs, like water and electricity networks, that a single donor was not likely to finance alone. The SRTF has faced many difficult challenges over the last 10 years, continuously adapting to a changing political and security context.  This flexibility and the perseverance of its dedicated staff enabled the SRTF to improve the lives of more than 10 million Syrians.  The United States is proud to be a part of the SRTF family.”


Representing the SOC, Mr. Hadi Al Bahra said: Most importantly, we strive to offer the Syrian people real hope for a better future. It is this hope that continues to shape their resilience and sharpens the SRTF’s ability to impact the lives of millions of Syrians.”


The SRTF COO, Lakis Papstavrou: From an operational point of view, our 10-year journey wasn’t without its set of challenges especially since the MU managed and implemented projects remotely. However, despite all these challenges, we were always successful in finding ways to empower local communities and implementing entities who embrace the unique support provided by the SRTF and delivered the expected results in improving livelihood and wellness in communities.”


In his closing remarks, Eng. Hani Khabbaz, Director General (DG) of the SRTF stated: The SRTF is a multilateral mechanism without precedent. While there are many multilateral recovery and reconstruction trust funds operating in post-conflict and post-crisis countries, there is no fund like the SRTF, which was established and continues to operate in an active and complex conflict environment.” Mr. Khabbaz added: The SRTF embarks on the next phase of its journey guided by its successes, insights, and lessons learned during the past 10 years. From its modest beginnings, the SRTF has now become one of the largest recovery trust funds, tackling projects in challenging circumstances. As we celebrate this momentous occasion, we express our heartfelt gratitude to the donor countries for their unwavering support and commitment. The SRTF mission remains steadfast in providing innovative and sustainable solutions to the Syrian people. Our primary focus is on fostering resilience, empowerment, and creating lasting change to help Syrians rebuild their futures.


The SRTF remains deeply grateful to its generous donor countries for their continued support and unwavering commitment to the cause. Their EUR 332.15 million in contributions are what continue to allow the Fund to play a pivotal role in transforming the lives of millions of Syrians inside Syria.



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