Everything you need to know about the Syria conference

A young Syrian girl sits on a drainage bridge in Azraq refugee camp, Jordan

Update 5 February 2016: Read the reaction of CARE and other NGOs to the conference outcomes, including this comment by CARE chief executive Laurie Lee:

This is a long-term crisis, which is why we must ensure jobs and decent, non-exploitative work not just emergency cash. Because we know without income, refugee families are at high risk of child marriage, sexual exploitation and child labour.

What is it?

The London Conference on Supporting Syria and the Region on 4 February will bring world leaders together to find solutions to the crisis in Syria, and to provide significant new funding to meet the immediate and longer-term needs of those affected by the crisis.

Who’s going?

The conference is co-hosted by UK, Germany, Kuwait, Norway, and the United Nations, and will be attended by heads of state, including the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron.

So the people coming to the conference are the top-level decision-makers who can make real, hard and binding decisions.

Why is it important?

After five years and with no immediate end to the crisis in sight, billions of dollars in international aid is needed to support people caught up in the conflict.

It’s also an opportunity for the world to show it is serious about delivering a peace process, and ending targeted violence against civilians.

Why should we care?

13.5 million people inside Syria need help – they are not just statistics, but real people whose lives are in real danger.

And more than 1 in 5 Syrians have already fled the country – that’s more than 4 million people who are living as refugees in neighbouring countries. Most of these refugee families are dependent on humanitarian assistance just to meet their basic daily needs.

This is not just a conflict happening somewhere else. The plight of every single person affected by this conflict is a human story – and all those stories together amount to a global tragedy.

What’s CARE doing?

CARE has already assisted more than a million Syrians inside Syria and the region. But much more is needed.

We are calling for a bold new deal – with the scale and ambition of the Marshall Plan, which rebuilt Europe after World War 2 – to help bring safety, dignity, and new opportunities for a peaceful and prosperous future, to the people of Syria and the region. Read more about what CARE and other international and local organisations working in Syria and the region are calling for.

Syrian refugees want the war to end so they can return home.

We are calling on world leaders at the Syria Conference to show the political will to bring about an end to the conflict, and to immediately end targeted violence against civilians – the main driver of displacement.

Syrian refugees want to have a better livelihood, either by being allowed to work – which they would prefer – or if not that, by increasing the aid for refugees.

We are calling on the Conference to support work, livelihoods and education opportunities for Syrian refugee families, through aid and investment in livelihood opportunities, and lifting the legal barriers preventing refugees from working.

This is not just about giving Syrian refugees menial low-paid jobs via work permits – it means investment, it means allowing factories to be set up, and it means small grants for entrepreneurs to set up their own businesses.

Women and girls are disproportionately affected by the Syria crisis.

We want to see a strengthened political commitment and practical action to protect women and girls from violence and to support Syrian women activists and women’s organisations.

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