The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has warned that the “escalation” of violence spreading from the Syrian conflict along the Turkish border and into Lebanon is “extremely dangerous”.
He called for more donations to cope with the humanitarian disaster as winter approaches.
The UN leader was one of several speakers at the opening of the first ever World Forum for Democracy in the French city of Strasbourg.
Journalist Tawakuul Karman played a prominent role in Yemen’s uprising and was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
She told the conference that humanity’s great challenge was to make countries respect the UN charter and other international human rights agreements.
The forum brings together global leaders and various influential people including youth representatives to try to find democratic solutions to the world’s problems.
It is organised by the Council of Europe and backed by the European Parliament.
Its stated general theme is bridging the gap between the world’s old democracies and new realities.
euronews’ correspondent in Strasbourg, Giovanni Magi, said:
“The difficult ongoing transitions in Arab Spring countries, plus the weight that non-democratic countries impose on international markets, both represent a new challenge. One which this forum aims to analyse in order to contribute to a more peaceful international co-existence.”