UN: EU´s support for education of Syrian refugees in Lebanon
New York (23 September) – "The majority of Syrian refugee children in Lebanon are out of school and the European Union is determined to help to give them a chance for education and a better future," Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle said in New York on Monday. He took part at a special session on the education situation of Syrian children in Lebanon organised by UNICEF in the margins of UN General Assembly.
"We are determined to make a significant contribution to address this situation. Children are always the most vulnerable and neglected victims of a conflict and our response to the Syria crisis always took into account the importance of providing education. We cannot allow having a lost generation of kids that do not go to school as a consequence of this terrible conflict" Commissioner Füle stressed.
With its on-going and future assistance in Lebanon, the EU hopes to provide access and improve education of about 216,000 children in Lebanese communities, reach out to 15,000 youngsters and rehabilitate 735 schools and kindergartens. Most of EU funds for education in Lebanon are channelled through UNICEF, but also through UNHCR and UNWRA.
So far EU´s support to the education sector in Lebanon channelled through UNICEF amounts to 23 million euro and Commissioner Füle noted that the EU would maintain and scale-up this support. On Tuesday he will sign 4 additional agreements with UNICEF amounting to over 34 million euro to cover educational needs of the children affected by the crisis in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. This will bring the total support to UNICEF to more than 57 million euro.
"In total, through the EU assistance, two and a half million children in the region will be given a chance to receive education and with it hope for a better future", Commissioner Füle said. Children constitute more than half of the population affected by the Syrian conflict and as he remarked no funding would be ever enough to address this dramatic refugee crisis. A political solution is needed more than ever.
Note: the signature ceremony takes place on Tuesday 24th September at UNICEF House in New York.