The European Union significantly increased its funding in response to the Syria crisis at today's Third International Pledging Conference for Syria in Kuwait. Together, the European Commission and Member States pledged close to € 1.1 billion - double the overall EU pledge at the 2014 Conference. Of this, €500 million in humanitarian aid, early recovery and longer-term stabilisation assistance come from the EU budget, which nearly triples the contribution from last year. EU Member States also increased their pledges compared to 2014.
"The magnitude of the Syria crisis is testing the capacities of the entire international aid system. The needs are overwhelming and an extraordinary effort is needed by the wider donor community to mobilise significant funding. With our substantial contribution, the European Union – Commission and the Member States - shoulders its responsibility to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people," said Christos Stylianides, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, who is representing the EU at the Pledging Conference.
"It is only through global partnerships, including from the Arab world, and the shared solidarity that binds us, that we can make a difference in this biggest humanitarian tragedy since World War II. The commitment I have seen by the international community here in Kuwait is reassuring, but more needs to be done. I appeal to donors to step up their efforts. The Syrian people are counting on us," Commissioner Stylianides added.
Since the start of the conflict in Syria, more than 11.5 million people have been forced to flee their homes, including 3.9 million who fled to neighbouring countries, and more than 12 million people are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance inside Syria alone, an increase of 30 percent compared to one year ago. The EU and its Member States have thus far mobilised €3.35 billion. In addition, the EU has recently set up the "Madad" Trust Fund for Syria in order to improve the delivery of assistance for resilience and recovery activities in Syria and its neighbouring countries affected by the conflict.
Last year, the EU's combined pledge (Commission and Member States) was the biggest contribution at Kuwait II (€550 million), representing one third of the overall amount pledged.