Ban Ki-moon's speeches

Opening remarks at press conference at closing of the Second International Humanitarian Pledging Conference on Syria

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Kuwait City (Kuwait), 15 January 2014

This Second International Humanitarian Pledging Conference has just concluded by raising more than $2.4 billion for the Syria Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan and the Refugee Response Plan over the next six months. The exact figure will be announced shortly

I express my heartfelt gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Emir of Kuwait. He has shown enormous generosity, leading the way with an inspiring contribution of $500 million. I applaud his leadership.

I am also grateful to the many officials representing countries, international and non-governmental organizations and humanitarian agencies. Their presence here shows a true spirit of global citizenship.

The conflict in Syria is devastating communities across the country. It is spreading instability across the region. It requires action from leaders across the globe.

I am pleased that the world has spoken here in Kuwait City. We have said loudly and clearly to the Syrian people: You are not forgotten. And we have said loudly and clearly to the neighbouring countries: You will not shoulder the burden alone.

The United Nations will make the best use of the resources that we receive to provide food, water, shelter, emergency treatment and other supplies and services to millions of people in need.

We will focus attention on the needs of women. We will help fund the No Lost Generation initiative, which will help Syrian children to reclaim their childhood. And we will promote livelihoods for refugees so that they can work productively.

The people of Syria long for peace.

This is the message I heard from Syrian refugees I have met in neighbouring countries. Yesterday, I went to the Kawrgosik camp in the Kurdistan Governorate of Iraq. I spoke to a fourteen-year old girl named Bahia. Like so many others, she lives in a tent with her family. She goes to UNICEF-supported classes. She is eager to learn but she has to cope with so much fear and uncertainty.

I told her not to lose hope.

We have to do everything possible to address the humanitarian, disarmament and political dimensions of the conflict.

Today we achieved great progress on funding the relief effort.

The Joint OPCW-UN team is operating on a tight timeline to rid Syria of its chemical weapons.

Next week, in Geneva, we will convene the International Conference on Syria to press the parties to begin the political process, establish a transitional governing body and stop the violence.

The international community has responded generously at this pledging conference. Now I call on all concerned to step up efforts to bring the parties together.

Finally I would like to thank you again for all of your cooperation and most importantly the Government and people of Kuwait and the leadership of His Highness the Emir and His Excellency the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Kuwait. Kuwait has become a global humanitarian centre. I really appreciate this and I urge all of us to work together with the United Nations to make this world better for all, including the Syrian people.