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Too High a Price to Pay: The Cost of Conflict for Syria's children

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Ten years of war in Syria has cost $1.2 trillion USD according to World Vision

  • The economic cost of conflict in Syria after 10 years is estimated to be over $US 1.2 trillion

  • Even if the war ended today, its cost will continue to accumulate to the tune of an additional $1.7 trillion in today’s money through to 2035.

  • Ten years of war has reduced Syrian children’s overall life expectancy by 13 years.

4th March, 2021 The economic cost of conflict in Syria after 10 years is estimated to be over $US 1.2 trillion, and even if the war ended today, its cost will continue to accumulate to the tune of an additional $1.7 trillion in today’s money through to 2035. That is according to a report launched today by international aid agency, World Vision, who partnered with Frontier Economics, to develop the economic findings.

The report ‘Too high a price to pay: the cost of conflict for Syria’s children’ investigates the impact that ten years of war has had on Syria’s economic growth (in GDP), and on its human capital, with a specific focus on Syria’s children. The findings state that an entire generation has been lost to this conflict and indicate that children will bear the cost through lost education and health, preventing many from supporting the country’s recovery and economic growth, once the war ends.

Andrew Morley, World Vision International President & CEO, said: “The world has stood by and allowed this conflict to rage on for ten years, robbing children of their basic rights and preventing an entire generation of girls and boys from reaching their God-given potential.”

This report confirms the findings of the 2016 “Cost of Conflict” report by World Vision and Frontier Economics which warned of an accumulated economic cost surpassing US$275 billion, projecting, in a worst case scenario, to reach US$1.3 trillion by 2020. The latest research shows that the aid agency’s worst fears were correct and that an additional cost of $1.4 trillion will continue to be borne through to 2035. On top of that, the negative impacts on children’s health and education bring this additional cost of war up to $1.7 trillion, in today’s money.

“Children come to us on a daily basis in Syria, hungry, cold and deeply distressed by what they have witnessed and experienced,” says Johan Mooij, World Vision Syria Response Director.

“Boys and girls aged five or six can name every type of bomb by its sound, but sometimes can barely write their name having missed out on the chance of an education. We cannot let them remain trapped in this cycle of violence. We must stop the war and the shadow pandemic of violence against children before it is too late,” adds Mooij.   

The report’s economic findings are accompanied by a World Vision survey of almost 400 Syrian children and young adults in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan revealing the tremendous human costs of conflict. The conflict in Syria is one of the deadliest for children and the most destructive, reducing children’s overall life expectancy by 13 years. An estimated 82 percent of children recruited by armed actors have been used in direct combat roles and 25 percent of children have been under the age of 15 years. An estimated 55,000 children have been killed since the conflict began, some by summary execution or torture. World Vision’s assessments in North West Syria found that every single girl they spoke to lives with the fear of being raped and sexually assaulted. Child marriage, which can result in significant physical and psychological harm and abuse, has increased to an alarming level . All children interviewed appealed for one thing; peace.

“I have met children across the region whose lives have been shattered by the conflict – loved ones killed, girls and boys out of school, begging on the streets and facing new threats of violence in the places they have fled to.” said Andrew Morley

‘Too high a price to pay; the cost of conflict for Syria’s children’ states that peace, accompanied by an inclusive, representative political solution to the crisis, is the only way to avoid further economic and human costs. Without it Syrian children will continue to pay the price for adult failures.

“Lasting peace is now the only viable solution for Syria’s children. The international community has a moral responsibility to do everything in their power to make this happen. The economic costs are devastating, and children continue to pay the price. We need political will, financial support, and a collective passion for peace and security.

“We must act now to bring hope,” said Morley.

ENDS.

Note to editor

For further information or to organise an interview, please contact:

Alexandra Matei, Syria Response Advocacy and Communications Director, World Vision International +962 778482436 | Alexandra_Matei@wvi.org

World Vision is a global humanitarian organisation dedicated to working with children, families and their communities to reach their full potential by tackling the root causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information, please visit www.wvi.org/syria-response or follow us on Twitter @WorldVisionSR

Frontier Economics is Europe’s largest independent economic consultancy, with over 250 economists based in Germany, Belgium, Ireland, Spain, France, Austria, Switzerland and the UK. Frontier Economics specialises in the application of economics to help clients resolve complex policy and strategic challenges. For more information, please visit www.frontier-economics.com or follow on Twitter @FrontierEcon