Sanctions & Syria (2): impact and how to mitigate negative consequences (the financial aspects)

Under Chatham House rules

Summary report

Find a report of the presentation here.

About the session

Sanctions, Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) regulations, as well as donors’ redlines on early recovery programs and humanitarian aid have a persisting negative impact on humanitarian operations in Syria. This compounds the tremendous pain to people in Syria suffering from war and natural disaster.

This working session is a follow up to a working session in October 2023, initiated by Mohammad Kanfash and KUNO (The Platform for Humanitarian Knowledge Exchange in the Netherlands), where researchers and representatives of international and local NGOs active in Syria, made an inventory of impact of sanctions, AML/CFT regulations, and donors’ redlines on humanitarian aid. In this follow up session, we aim to discuss the findings and concerns of local and international NGOs with representatives of donors and the financial sector and to identify / propose solutions. The session will be preceded by a session on the political dynamics of aid in Syria on February 22nd.

Sub-topics that can be discussed:

  • How can we better raise awareness and improve multi-stakeholder dialogue between banks or the private sector, donors and NGOs?
  • How to address existing discrepancies between sanction regimes across the EU member states as a result of the EU’s difficulties with the harmonization of sanction throughout the Union?
  • How can we use a more systematic monitoring of and reporting on the impact ofsanctions on humanitarian activities to respond to problems such as overcompliance and de-risking?


  • Mohammad Kanfash, researcher at Utrecht University’s School of Law and Centre for Conflict Studies, Founder of Damaan Humanitarian Organization.
  • Dr. Erica Moret, Senior Researcher at the Global Governance Centre and Centre for Humanitarian Studies at the Graduate Institute and coordinates the Geneva International Sanctions Network (GISN).
  • Lia van Broekhoven, the Human Security Collective.

Participants include representatives of the European Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLR), banking sector, Netherlands MFA, UN Syria, EU Syria, other European institutes, NGOs active in Syria (international and local), the KUNO-members, European humanitarian think tanks (e.g. CHA, HERE, ODI, URD Groupe), and subject / country experts.


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