Speech Article from
Address by Minister Bibeau to the Syria Donors Conference
February 4, 2016 - London, United Kingdom
Check Against Delivery. This speech has been translated in accordance with the official languages policy and edited for posting and distribution in accordance with the Government of Canada’s communications policy.
We are gathered in London today because we have a common hope: to see communities in the Middle East live in peace, safety and prosperity.
I have just come from Jordan and Lebanon, where the gravity of this crisis could not be more evident. Jordan has welcomed 1.4 million Syrian refugees. I was moved by the generosity of communities who have opened their schools, their clinics and even their homes to the refugees.
Lebanon is also facing huge challenges, with over a million Syrian refugees in a country of 4 million people.
And let’s not forget the millions of Palestinian, Iraqi and other refugees throughout the region.
Syria’s neighbours are responding to the crisis. But we, as members of the broader international community, also have a shared responsibility to act.
Last November, Canada put in place a special operation to admit 25,000 Syrian refugees in three months. This was in addition to our usual level of 14,000 refugees per year.
Refugees want peace in their homeland. And until they can return, they deserve to live in dignity in safe and resilient communities.
In Jordan, Canada was one of the first donors to recognize the importance of building resilience.
Let us help countries such as Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey transform this crisis into an opportunity—strengthen communities, strengthen economies, get ready to rebuild Syria.
We must help these governments deliver adequate services and infrastructures and support them while they put in place the right conditions for adults to earn a living and children to play, learn and dream—and not become recruitment targets for radicals.
Since the beginning of the crisis, Canada has contributed almost $1 billion for humanitarian assistance, development and security in the region. This includes our recent contribution of $100 million to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to support its activities in the region for 2016. We are also matching donations by Canadians up to $100 million.
In a few days, Canada will announce its whole-of-government strategy for the Middle East.
I can assure you that Canada is committed to a comprehensive approach. We will continue to respond to humanitarian needs, and we will increase our development efforts to build resilient communities.
I look forward to working with you to meet this momentous challenge.
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