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Syrian Crisis Highlighted at Donor Conference
May 08, 2018

Syrian Crisis Highlighted at Donor Conference
Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, giving the welcome remarks to the attendees of the second “Supporting Syria & the Region” Conference.

Washington, D.C. 8 May 2018 – On April 24 & 25, donors and civil society representatives gathered in Brussels for the second “Supporting Syria & the Region” Conference, co-hosted by the European Union and the United Nations. The goal of the Conference was to mobilize financial support and political will to both address the humanitarian needs of Syrian displaced by conflict, and work towards a peaceful solution.

With programs serving Syrians in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and within Syria itself, this was an important opportunity for Jesuit Refugee Service to give voice to the challenges we see displaced Syrians facing each day and recommend opportunities for continued and increased investment.

Through a pre-Conference consultative process, and by participating in an “NGO Day of Dialogue," JRS was able to encourage donors to prioritize the right to education for displaced Syrians. This includes access to education, with a focus on limited opportunities for Syrians to access secondary and vocational training opportunities, and improved quality of education.

Education was prominently featured in both a Conference plenary session and a side event hosted by the European Union's Civil Protection & Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) office. During the side event, the No Lost Generation campaign, of which JRS is a member, released its latest update which noted that 1 in 3 Syrian children – both those internally displaced and refugees who have fled the country – are out of school.

In advance of the Conference, JRS also released a report, Protecting the Promise of a Generation, to draw attention to the important role education plays in healing communities affected by conflict and preparing them for their future. The report includes a spotlight on the challenges faced by Syrians in Lebanon, where 1 in 6 people is a refugee.

As the Conference concluded, donors pledged $4.4 billion in 2018 for both Syria and the region and made multi-year pledges of $3.4 billion for 2019-2020. While less than hoped for, JRS released a statement expressing support for the pledges made and encouraged greater clarity regarding how much funding will go towards the educational needs of Syrians. In addition, pledges must be honored and need to translate into true commitments that will reach those most in need.

JRS will continue to extend our support to Syrians who find themselves displaced due to conflict and persecution and will seek to meet their educational needs through our programs. We will also speak out on behalf of those whom we serve, and advocate for the resources and political will necessary to create lasting change.

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