The economic cost of civil war in Syria, 10 years on

Frontier research highlights the massive economic and human cost of the Syrian conflict.

As the civil war in Syria reaches the 10 year mark, the economic cost of conflict has risen to close to US$1.2 trillion, research undertaken by Frontier for charity World Vision shows. The report, Too High a Price to Pay, highlights the human costs suffered by Syrians, and especially children, and calls for durable solutions to bring peace. To date, close to 600,000 Syrians have lost their lives, of which 55,000 were children.

Speaking last week, at the launch of the report in Geneva, Frontier’s Amar Breckenridge said the research underscored how the costs of war were systematically underestimated. This is because we tend to look at where Syria is now compared to where it was 10 years ago. Whereas the appropriate comparison is between Syria’s economy as it is now, compared to where it would have been. This comparison shows that the price tag of the war is reflected in the lost opportunities for growth and development.

Fellow speakers at the launch included representatives of  World Vision, the European Commission, UNICEF and UNHCR. They highlighted the plight of displaced communities and people (of which 40% are under 18), the effects of lost livelihoods, the profound psychosocial effects of violence and trauma,  and the effects of the conflict on neighbouring countries such as Lebanon and Jordan.

World Vision’s Middle East and Eastern Europe Regional Leader, Eleanor Monbiot outlined that:

“the real cost of the conflict in Syria is the lost investment in human capital – children who will have to bear the burden of Syria’s recovery and future growth”.

She continued by affirming that “World Visions report recommendations recognise that no amount of funding and resources can replace the dire need for a successful political process at the UN level to stop this conflict. Children cannot and should not be held hostage to failed political processes. Syrian children will continue to pay the price for adult failures. Ultimately it is those holding political power at Global, regional and national level that have the future of Syria’s children in their hands, and it is our expectation that they finally fulfil their obligations and find a route to peace, and then provide resources to enable the people of Syria to rebuild and restore their lives and livelihoods.”

Frontier Economics advises clients on matters of international economics and economic growth.

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