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

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  • 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.
Displaced Syrians carrying assistance to their tents in Northwest Syria, winter 2020.

SEATTLE (March 4, 2021)

The economic cost of conflict in Syria after 10 years is estimated to be over $US 1.2 trillion,[1] 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 Christian humanitarian organization, 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.

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,[2] some by summary execution or torture.[3] 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.[4] Child marriage, which can result in significant physical and psychological harm and abuse, has increased to an alarming level[5]. All children interviewed appealed for one thing; peace.

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.

[1] The GDP impacts are expressed in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) terms, which standardises output in terms of a comparable basket of goods.

[2] The statistics vary: conditions in Syria have not been conducive to an accurate counting of deaths, injuries and destruction.

[3] UN Security Council. “Report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic” (S/2018/969) para. 29

[4] World Vision, March 2020 report “Northwest Syria Gender Analysis A Comprehensive Gender and Age Analysis for the Northwest Syria Humanitarian Response”

[5] World  Vision 2020 report “ Stolen Futures: War and Child Marriage in Northwest Syria”

About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization conducting relief, development, and advocacy activities in its work with children, families, and their communities in nearly 100 countries to help them reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, please visit www.WorldVision.org/media-center/ or on Twitter @WorldVisionUSA.


About Frontier Economics:

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 specializes 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