At the recent conference attended by 70 world leaders, including the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, the US secretary of state John Kerry, and the Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, British Prime Minister David Cameron promised to double UK aid to Syria through to 2020.
Britain, already the second-largest bilateral donor in Syria behind the US, announced it would double its own funding to Syria to £2.3bn up to 2020. The announcement means the UK government’s 2015’s pledge is doubled for 2016.
All this still leaves the UN short of the $9bn it deems necessary this year to improve schooling, access to work and help Syrians survive. The UN only received half of the funds it sought for Syria last year, Cameron points out, and the Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood said unless funding was increased “another 1 million people will turn their back on Syria”.
The prime minister of Norway, Erna Solberg, who is also co-chairing the conference said it was in Europe’s self interest to do more to help Syrians. “If we don’t invest more in the neighborhood and neighboring countries will have an even bigger problem than we have today,” she said on Thursday. She also urged rich Gulf countries to do more to help.