By Johnathan Walsh
By Johnathan Walsh
Rabat – World leaders opened a donor conference in London on Thursday, with the aim of raising $9 billion for refugees who have fled Syria.
Representatives from sixty countries will be at the event, whose purpose is to help provide education and work opportunities for younger refugees, 4.6 million of whom are in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.
It is hoped that these opportunities will give potentially vulnerable people sufficient chances in life, and therefore cut the risk of their involvement in extremist organizations further down the line.
An article published in The Guardian by human rights activist Malala Yousafzai this Sunday spoke of the demise in educational standards in Jordan in particular. A country that, five years ago, boasted a 90% literacy rate but now sees migrant girls as young as 13 being married off to men by their families to protect them from extremism.
Addressing the conference, Ban Ki-moon said: “Today, let’s change the narrative. Let us, by our solidarity and generosity, bring true hope to the people of Syria & region… let us come together to get all children in school. Not in years, but in months.”
The conference is the fourth of its kind. World leaders have emphasized the importance of meeting the $9 billion target; Last year they failed to raise even half of a $2.9 billion target set by the UN for similar purposes.
This failure has had the knock-on effect of inflating this year’s figure to $9 billion, for which the UN are appealing for $7.7 billion and regional host governments for the remaining $1.3 billion.
Participation thus far has been good with Germany having pledged $2.6 billion, and the UK having given $1.7 billion.
However, some will feel that the conference has been overshadowed by events in Geneva, where UN mediated talks between the Syrian government and opposition groups have broken down due to disagreements over the ongoing conflict.