World leaders meet to raise US$9bn for Syria crisis

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (top right) addresses the donors conference entitled "Supporting Syria and the Region" in London. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

World leaders, meeting in London have pledged nearly six billion US dollars this year to help the people of Syria affected by five years of civil war in the country.

The funding will open up access to education for a million children.

It will also create over a million new jobs in the region.

A total of nine billion dollars is being sought, by United Nations agencies and the regional governments that are hosting refugees.

Nicki Chadwick reports from London.

The conference comes just a day after talks between government and opposition groups collapsed in Geneva, suspended following differences between the two sides on the priority of humanitarian issues.

The United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, told delegates in London that the pause in the intra-Syrian talks shows just how deep divisions are in the country, where humanitarian access is limited.

In his appeal for funding for humanitarian aid for Syria, he said that long-term international support is necessary: "Even if, by some miracle, the conflict ends tomorrow, the enormous humanitarian and development needs will continue for years and even decades.

The United Nations stands ready to lead and coordinate this effort. Syrian and other refugees need the chance to work and provide for their families. 

Today, let us commit to getting all Syrian children into school, within months, not years. Offering hope is the best way to slow the exodus of educated Syrians and prevent the radicalization of a lost generation."

Representatives from 60 countries are at the conference, including 30 world leaders. Organisers say that initial estimates of funds raised are 'encouraging'.

Nicki Chadwick, United Nations, London.

Duration: 1’32″

 

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