The Syrian delegation at the COP28 in Dubai has blamed international sanctions, opposition groups, the U.S., Turkey, and Israel for aggravating the climate crisis in Syria, while deflecting any governmental responsibility in Syria’s climate emergency. At the annual Conference of Parties, private entities and governments tend to make pledges to help developing countries face the climate crisis, but so far, Damascus' search for international climate finance seems to have fallen flat this year.
The Green Climate Fund (GCF), the world’s largest multilateral climate fund, has granted USD 1.9 million to the Syrian government in the past four years but could potentially attract much more. Countries must enhance the technical capacity of national institutions through a ‘Readiness Program' to access GCF funds. As of August, GCF has funded 709 ‘readiness requests’ worth a total of USD 527.6 million across 142 countries. In the case of Syria, the GCF has so far disbursed USD 873,300 out of the total USD 1.9 million granted.
Recent reports indicate that the Katerji brothers, possibly the most influential business figures to have emerged during the Syrian conflict, are facing increasing pressure from the Syrian authorities.
The Syrian government is negotiating to extend the contract it has with French shipping giant CMA CGM over the management of the port of Lattakia’s container terminal. The Ministry of Transport has established a committee to negotiate with the French company but that does not necessarily mean that the contract with LICT will be eventually extended.
On the eve of the Syrian conflict, half a dozen Western oil companies were active in Syria. Among these, Royal Dutch Shell and Total E&P, were the major players. However, the country’s descent into chaos and the subsequent imposition of Western sanctions on the oil sector led to the freezing of their activities. By the end of 2012, all Western companies had suspended their operations in Syria, declaring force majeure and freezing their assets.
The Syrian Telecommunications Company has begun improving the country’s telephone and internet infrastructure through a Chinese grant that includes Chinese communications equipment.