21.09.2012 - Education Sector

Education Cannot Wait : Quality Education in Humanitarian Emergencies and Conflict Situations

ED Cluster / Gabriel Khili

UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova, speaks about delivering quality education in humanitarian emergencies and conflict situations at a UN General Assembly side event taking place in New York on the 24th September 2012.

Forty two percent of the world’s out of school children currently live in conflict-affected areas. Widespread attacks on schools, children and teachers often make it too dangerous to go to school. Furthermore, millions of children and youth have their education disrupted by natural hazards and disasters as a result of a lack of pre-emergency planning and prevention policies. Despite this, education is not currently recognized as a humanitarian priority, and is under-financed in emergency and post-conflict situations.

UNESCO believes that education is necessary to breaking cycles of violence and building peaceful and resilient societies. UNESCO is actively engaged in supporting its member states in rebuilding their educational systems and building peace education into education systems; such as in South Sudan, Liberia and Afghanistan, where it leads the largest education programme in the country and is reaching out to 600,000 learners across 18 provinces.

UNESCO is co-convening the event with the Global Partnership for Education, UNICEF, Save the Children and INEE. It will take place in co-operation with the launch of the UN Secretary General’s Education First initiative, which is about defending the right to quality education in emergency situations.

Other speakers on the panel will be Ministers from Côte d’Ivoire and Norway and personalities such as Sheika Mozah and Anthony Lake (Director-General of UNICEF). The discussion will set out an agenda for strengthening the role of education systems in preventing conflicts and building peaceful societies.


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