UNESCO welcomes new Fund for Education in Emergencies
23 May, Istanbul —UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova, welcomed the new Education Cannot Wait—a fund for education in emergencies that was launched at a special session of the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in the presence of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
“Exceptional measures are urgently required to meet the educational needs of millions of children and youth whose future is jeopardized by conflicts, displacement and natural disasters,” said the Director-General. “This new fund fulfills a human imperative, a security imperative and a development imperative. It is about leaving no one behind, the overarching aim of the 2030 Agenda, and working together to deliver quality education, even in the toughest circumstances.”
The Fund’s immediate aim is to raise $3.85 billion over the next five years to reach 13.6 million children whose education has been disrupted by conflict and other humanitarian emergencies. The Fund is expected to reach 75 million children and youth by 2030. One in four of the world’s school-aged children, nearly half a billion, live in countries affected by crisis. They are either missing out on their education, receiving poor quality schooling or run the risk of dropping out of school.
Education in emergencies remains grossly underfunded by the international community, receiving less than 2 percent of humanitarian aid. “To do justice to the immense needs, we should aim for 10% of all humanitarian funding to be allocated to education in emergencies,” Ms Bokova said, noting that the EU has committed to an increase to 4%.
The Director-General is one of the Global Champions of the Education Cannot Wait Fund, together with Gordon Brown, the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education; UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and the Chair of the Board of the Global Partnership for Education, Julia Gillard. UNESCO will also be a member of the High Level Steering Group that will oversee the implementation of the Education annot Wait fund.
Ms Bokova also welcomed that the Fund recognizes the importance of evidence-based educational planning, and capacity building, and pledged the Organization’s commitment to provide expertise to the Fund, including through the UNESCO Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS).
The new Fund aligns with UNESCO’s work as the lead UN agency entrusted with the coordination of Sustainable Development Goal 4, “to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”
A policy paper, ‘No more excuses’, released ahead the World Humanitarian Summit shows that only 50% of refugee children are in primary school and 25% of refugee adolescents are in secondary school.
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