By Stephanie Nebehay
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wants all countries to show solidarity and help resettle nearly half a million Syrian refugees over the next three years.
Ban, kicking off a ministerial conference hosted by the UN refugee agency UNHCR in Geneva on Wednesday (local time), said: "This demands an exponential increase in global solidarity."
The United Nations is aiming to re-settle 480,000 refugees, about 10 percent of those now in neighbouring countries, by the end of 2018.
However it conceded it needs to overcome widespread fear and political manipulation.
Ban urged countries to pledge new and additional pathways for admitting Syrian refugees, adding: "These pathways can include resettlement or humanitarian admission, family reunions, as well as labour or study opportunities."
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said the refugees were facing increasing obstacles to find safety.
"We must find a way to manage this crisis in a more humane, equitable and organised manner. It is only possible if the international community is united and in agreement on how to move forward," Grandi said.
The five-year conflict has killed at least 250,000 and driven nearly five million refugees abroad, mostly to neighbouring Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.
Grandi said: "If Europe were to welcome the same percentage of refugees as Lebanon in comparison to its population, it would have to take in 100 million refugees."
Ban, referring to UN-led efforts to end the war, said:
"We have a cessation of hostilities, by and large holding for over a month, but the parties must consolidate and expand it into a ceasefire and ultimately to a political solution through dialogue."