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AMMAN, Jordan/BRUSSELS/NEW YORK, 19 September 2016 – As a new school year gets under way across the Middle East, a major injection of funds from the European Union is boosting efforts to provide learning opportunities and protection to hundreds of thousands of children and youth who have fled the Syria conflict.

Within the context of the London pledging conference for Syria earlier this year, the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis (the ‘Madad Fund’) committed €90 million in support of UNICEF’s work with children and young people who have fled the war in Syria to take refuge in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Children and youth in host communities that are themselves struggling with access to education and basic services, will also benefit.

“The EU funds are offering a life-line to children and youth, many of whom have seen their homes, schools and lives torn apart and who risk becoming a lost generation,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “We need to invest in them now so they can become the doctors, nurses, lawyers and teachers who are so crucial in building a brighter future for the region.”

While millions of children are returning to school this month throughout the region, close to 3 million Syrian children inside Syria and in neighbouring countries remained out of school as of July this year and continue to be at risk of violence, abuse and neglect.

“The EU Trust Fund in response to the Syrian Crisis is one of Europe’s key instruments for delivering on our €3 billion pledge at the London conference on supporting Syria and the region. The partnership between the EU Trust Fund and UNICEF for Syria’s children is a key element of our response and the largest contract signed by the Fund so far. With this support we are able to address the situation for children and youth of Syria quickly and with flexibility. The EU’s financial contribution will help preventing ‘a lost generation’ with all its negative consequences for the whole region,” said Johannes Hahn, the Commissioner of the European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations ahead of a meeting in New York with Mr. Lake in the margins of the United Nations General Assembly.

The €90 million is in addition to €12.5 million granted to UNICEF by the Madad Fund last year. In Turkey alone, around €50 million from these EU funds are supporting education and child protection programmes, reaching thousands of children.

Regionally, over 116,000 children have benefitted from these services to date, while around 248,000 children will receive different forms of support by the end of 2017.

Twenty-two EU Member States, Turkey, and the EU itself have so far committed over €736 million to the Madad Fund, which is set to reach more than €1 billion before the end of the year.  The Madad Fund was established in 2014, and has become the prime EU instrument in response to the Syrian refugee crisis in neighboring host countries.

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Notes to Editors:

Additional information on the EU-UNICEF partnership for children affected by the Syria crisis

  • In Jordan, nearly €5 million from the Madad Fund is being used to expand an innovative learning service developed by UNICEF called Makani (“My Space” in Arabic.) More than 200 Makani centres provide out-of-school refugees and marginalized Jordanian children and youth with psychosocial support, as well as informal learning and other activities.
  • In Lebanon, around €42 million is being used to help Lebanese institutions and ministries address barriers that keep children out of school. EU funds provide school transportation, train teachers and provide learning programmes to students who have been out of school for years.
  • Meanwhile, in Turkey, which hosts the biggest number of Syrian refugees, following the initial support of €12.5 million, an additional nearly €37 million is helping provide more refugees and vulnerable children with certified education, vocational training, protective services, and opportunities for civic engagement and entrepreneurship.
  • Regionally, another nearly €6 million will go towards child protection mechanisms, learning and advocacy support for children affected by the crises, including an innovative Virtual School called “Sahabati” (“My Cloud” in Arabic). Sahabati will help enable all children and youth in the region to continue their education and get a certificate even when their schools might have been destroyed or they are forced to flee.

Additional information on the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis

The European Union and its Member States collectively are leading the international aid response to help the refugees and their host countries in this crisis of historic proportions. Since 2011, Europe has mobilised €6.6 billion for relief and recovery assistance to Syrians in their country and to refugees and their host communities in neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt. In addition, the EU has pledged more than €3 billion at the ‘Supporting Syria’ conference held in London.

The two main priorities for Trust Fund financing emanating from the London conference and the 3RP resilience pillar are education and economic opportunities as follows:

  • Promoting educational, protection and engagement opportunities for children and young people in line with the No Lost Generation initiative in order to contribute to achieving the London conference commitment that by the end of the 2016-17 school year, all refugee children and vulnerable children in host communities will receive quality education with equal access for girls and boys, and to prepare young people for work, by increasing access to vocational training.
  • Reduce the pressure on countries hosting refugees by investing in livelihoods and social cohesion and supporting them in providing access to jobs and education that will benefit both refugees and host communities. The aim is to provide a lasting benefit for host countries as well as the tools for Syrians to re-build their own country once they can return. Building on the bold commitment of host governments to open up their labour markets to refugees, alongside their determined efforts to create new jobs for their own populations, provide support in areas such as access to external markets, access to concessional financing and increased external support for public and private sector job creation and employment creation programs.

In addition, the Trust Fund now supports other important development sectors, including municipal services and infrastructure in most affected host communities, access to health care, and higher education.

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About UNICEF:
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF visitwww.unicef.org

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For further information please contact:

Maja Kocijancic, EEAS Spokesperson, Tel: +32 (0)2 29 86570, maja.kocijancic@ec.europa.eu

Malene Kamp Jensen, UNICEF Regional Office, Amman, Tel: +962 (0) 791096 500, mjensen@unicef.org

Simon Ingram, UNICEF Brussels, +32 491 90 51 18, singram@unicef.org

 

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