Press release

Greening: act now for Syrian children

Justine Greening urges international donors to deliver on their promises to help thousands of children affected by conflict in Syria.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A young Syrian boy now living in an informal settlement in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, close to the border with his home country. Picture: Russell Watkins/DFID
A young Syrian boy now living in an informal settlement in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, close to the border with his home country. Picture: Russell Watkins/DFID

International donors must deliver on their promises and not forget the millions of children traumatised by the Syrian conflict who continue to need support, International Development Secretary Justine Greening has warned.

The UK is convening a high level summit in Washington DC tomorrow to underline the critical need for renewed financial and political commitment for the No Lost Generation Initiative. Meanwhile, Britain unveiled an additional £20 million of support for child protection, counselling and education.

Chaired by Ms Greening, the meeting will bring together World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, European Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva, UNICEF Executive Director Tony Lake and UN Education Special Envoy Gordon Brown.

Speaking on the eve of the meeting, Ms Greening said:

Millions of children need our help to rebuild their lives after experiencing unimaginable horrors and hardship, in many cases having lost both their parents.

Britain is committed absolutely to helping this traumatised generation get through this crisis as safely as possible and to supporting their education in order for them to have a future.

In addition to our basic support for millions of displaced and refugee Syrians, we have dedicated £50 million specifically for the protection, counselling and schooling of children.

But we cannot do this alone. Nations which have pledged aid must now deliver on their promises. The international community must come together and make it totally clear that their plight has not been forgotten.

The crisis in Syria puts millions of children in danger of becoming a ‘lost generation’ with over 5 million children affected.

According to UNICEF, nearly half of Syria’s school-age children – more than 2.8 million – cannot get an education as education services collapse and over 4,000 schools have been damaged or destroyed. It estimates two million children affected by the fighting are in need of psychological support or treatment, more than 10,000 have been killed and around 1.2 million are refugees, at least 500,000 of whom are not enrolled in schools.

The UK has previously provided £30 million for the No Lost Generation Initiative, which is changing lives for children across the region.

This includes:

  • funding to UNICEF to provide 70,000 children with alternative education and 27,000 vulnerable children and women with access to psychosocial support;

  • child-friendly spaces, child protection committees and education for tens of thousands of children across the region;

  • support to Doctors of the World to provide psychosocial support to young people in Jordan and Lebanon;

  • ensuring every child aged between 6 and 15 who attends state school in Lebanon has a set of text books covering core academic subjects;

  • funding to Islamic Relief to enable 3,500 Syrian refugee children in Jordan to access education and assist their families to meet housing costs; and

  • matching pound for pound all donations from the UK public to the Christmas Appeals for UNICEF, OXFAM, Save the Children and War Child, with a strong focus on meeting the needs of children.

Notes to editors

  1. The UK is the second biggest single country donor to the Syria crisis and has pledged £600 million so far. In Syria and the region each month, UK aid is providing food for over 535,000 people and water for 1.5 million people. It has also provided almost 316,000 medical consultations to date.
  2. More information available at UK humanitarian response in Syria page.

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Published 10 April 2014