THE BLOG
17/03/2015 07:01 GMT | Updated 13/05/2015 06:59 BST

Syria: Resolve Conflicts to Restore Childhoods

There are more than 50 million people displaced from their homes today, and about half of them are children. One in ten children in the world is affected by conflict. As we mark the four-year Syria crisis anniversary this Sunday, the numbers of displacement continue to rise. The United Nations has stated this latest statistics is "the highest in the world since World War II".

By the end of 2015, the Millennium Development Goals will expire and it appears that very few goals are likely to be met in conflict-affected countries.

Take the regional Syria conflict as an example: it would cost about $10 billion to meet the humanitarian needs in Syria; yet only half of the funding is obtained so far. In contrast, of the $20 billion needed to organise the football World Cup and the Olympics, the costs were fully met.

In Lebanon, I came face to face with families who represent these numbers. Living in tents in the Bekaa valley, I met Syrian children who were forced to leave their "normal lives" for what they thought would be a few weeks or months in Lebanon. Now four years later, they are still there. For these children, homes replaced with tents, schools replaced with occasion visits by teachers and familiarity of home by fear of an unknown future. Many asked if they could come with me and get asylum in the West. This remains a distant dream for many, particularly when United Kingdom has only taken a total of 143 Syrian refugees since the conflict started. Lebanon, in contrast, now hosts more than a million.

Of the required $20 billion needed in 2014, just over half of that was actually received. As a result, close to half the humanitarian needs in the world went unmet.

As the situation in the Syria crisis continues to deteriorates, the humanitarian needs, the unmet needs of food, water and basic medical care, are likely to grow. Four years on the crisis, we have to look not just to meet them but to prevent human suffering in the first place.

One way to do that is to find better ways to prevent and resolve conflicts.

At the moment, the children of Syria are suffering from a collective failure of the international community to resolve the conflict. For them, gunfire has become more normal than classrooms. The numerous unresolved conflicts around the world today prove again and again that while humanitarian assistance is essential, it is not enough.

There must be a renewed effort to find ways to resolve the conflicts that shatter countries and lives. The World Humanitarian Summit in 2016 offers an opportunity to address how humanitarians work in conflict; and the ongoing post-2015 process provide world leaders with the chance to commit to a goal to better manage and resolve conflicts.

Solving conflicts is hard and means we need to both understand and engage with complicated and protracted problems. But there are no shortcuts available. If we are to make the hardest places on earth better, we must go to them. In a globalised world, we cannot claim to be innocent bystanders, and it is our duty to ensure we do our part to prevent, build peace and end conflicts.

It is time that we live up to our responsibility to resolve today's conflicts so that tomorrow's children can live in a more peaceful world.