On July 14, 2014 the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 2165, authorizing UN agencies to use cross-border and cross-line routes for humanitarian aid with the intent of increasing access to Syrians in desperate need. The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) is grateful to the members of the Security Council for their tremendous efforts to pass this resolution, and to UNOCHA and the implementing agencies for swiftly making the cross-border aid shipments a reality.

Resolution 2165 was a breakthrough, and a much-needed step towards improving the UN’s response to the overwhelming humanitarian catastrophe in Syria. The next step is to renew the mandate of Resolution 2165 so that the UN and humanitarian community can continue to build on its initial success. As with any new policy, the UN’s cross-border aid has encountered some challenges in its first few month including administrative hurdles, under-resourcing, and issues with coordination between and among UN agencies and hubs, international NGOs (INGOs), and Syrian NGOs (SNGOs).

The renewal process for 2165 presents an opportunity to make improvements that will expand the impact of the UN’s cross-border efforts and increase their efficacy on the ground. While some improvements may require changes in the text of the resolution, the majority of these recommendations can be enacted with just a broader interpretation of the existing language by UN agencies. SAMS has served as an implementing partner for several UN agencies under Resolution 2165 for cross-border shipments from Turkey. The intent of this white paper is to share our experiences and lessons learned so that they might help to inform improvements in the process moving forward. Challenges and solutions are described in detail beginning on page 8, and a summary of key policy recommendations can be found on page 13. Read full report here.