London, England

04 February 2016

Secretary-General's opening remarks at joint press conference: Supporting syria and the Region

Thank you, Prime Minister David Cameron. Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Never has the international community raised so much money on a single day for a single crisis.

The Supporting Syria and the Region conference has been a great success. I would like to thank and highly commend the leadership of Prime Minister David Cameron, and co-sponsors, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway, and His Highness the Emir of Kuwait for their strong leadership, engagement and generous contributions, and many other countries for their very generous contributions.

As of this moment, as just said by the Prime Minister, more than $10 billion have been pledged -- more than half to meet immediate needs in 2016.

I thank again all the participants for their generosity and solidarity in supporting Syrians who are enduring prolonged, horrendous suffering.

Today’s pledges will enable humanitarian workers to continue reaching millions of people with life-saving aid.

The promises of long-term funding and loans mean that humanitarian and development partners will be able to work together to get children back into school, design employment programmes and begin rebuilding infrastructure.

The commitment of countries hosting large numbers of refugees to open up their labour markets is a breakthrough.   I thank the Governments of Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey for choosing solidarity over fear. 

I am also encouraged by the commitment to get 1.7 million children in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey into school, and to increase access to learning opportunities for children inside Syria. 

Perhaps most important, I welcome the shared commitment of today’s attendees to use their influence to end sieges and other grave human rights abuses. 

What will most help the people of Syria is not just food for today, but hope for tomorrow.  Yet the parties to the conflict remain deeply divided – even on improving the humanitarian situation.

I agree with my Special Envoy, Staffan de Mistura, that we should not have talks only for the sake of talks. The coming days should be used to get back to the table, not to secure more gains on the battlefield. 

The international community should strive to achieve tangible progress on the ground by the time the talks resume.

I thank the British Government for hosting us today, and I thank the co-hosts again and all participants for their commitment and leadership to the people of Syria and for the peace and stability of the region.

I thank you very much.