With the world’s focus once again on the Syria crisis, the Brussels conference, less than a month after CEDRE, is another opportunity to demonstrate our resolve and unwavering commitment to support Lebanon, host communities and Syrian refugees, to cope with the ongoing Syria crisis.
Speaking at the Brussels Conference on ‘Supporting the Future of Syria and the region’, International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt paid tribute to the sacrifice and contribution of Lebanon’s profound humanity in hosting the highest concentration of refugees anywhere in the world and urged donors to make more multi-year pledges. Secretary of State Mordaunt announced £450 million of development and humanitarian support for 2018 for Syria and the region, bringing the UK’s total contribution to date to the Syria crisis to £2.46bn, our largest ever response to a single humanitarian crisis.
International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt thanked Lebanon and its people for their generosity in hosting large number of refugees. In her statement as co-chair of a session on human capital investment in the region, she said:
‘The progress we have made since the London Syria Conference in 2016 to ensure every child in the region has access to a quality education is a reason for hope even in the most trying of circumstances… In Lebanon, the public education system has doubled in size since the start of conflict, and as a result, more than 356,000 Syrian children are now receiving an education… However, there are nearly 690,000 children in the region without access to any education. And we need to work together to reach these children or we risk creating a ‘Lost Generation.’… Currently, the region has one of the highest rates of youth unemployment and lowest rates of female labour market participation. By helping host countries invest and improve their education systems we can help young men and women transform their economies and spur economic growth across the region…But as we do so, we must ensure that all our efforts also include refugees and the most vulnerable. That includes working and undocumented children, girls and children with disabilities. We must ensure that every child in the region has equal access to a quality education and the opportunity to fulfil their potential so we can create the economies of tomorrow, and a future of peace and prosperity.”
On the sideline of the conference Minister of State for the Middle East Alistair Burt met with Lebanese Minister of Education and Higher Education Marwan Hamadeh and accompanying delegation. Minister Burt thanked Lebanon for the scale of generosity in continuing to host refugees, flagging that UK support to Lebanon on education quality reforms on teaching, learning and inclusion will continue so that every child fulfils their potential.
The Conference on ‘Supporting the future of Syria and the region’ has built on the momentum of CEDRE conference. Now, the Government of Lebanon will be implementing reforms and swiftly approving financed infrastructure projects to attract further international public and private sector investment to boost job creation and public service delivery for the benefit of all those in Lebanon. The £40 million package of UK support to the Lebanese economy – announced at CEDRE – will create jobs and improve infrastructure to boost economic development, showcasing the UK’s support to ambitious economic reforms by the Government of Lebanon. At CEDRE the UK also committed to providing a further £20 million as the Government of Lebanon makes further progress delivering the reforms which are key for successful infrastructure projects, and for economic recovery.