United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres has welcomed the unanimous decision of the UN General Assembly to establish 9 September as the International Day to Protect Education from Attack calling on UNESCO and UNICEF to raise awareness of the plight of millions of children living in countries affected by conflict.
‘As the world fights to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, children and youth in conflict zones remain among the most vulnerable to its devastating impact. We must ensure our children have a safe and secure environment in which to learn the knowledge and skills they need for the future’ said UN Secretary-General and he welcomed “the proclamation of 9 September as the International Day to Protect Education From Attack as safeguarding the right to education for all contributes to the achievement of sustainable development and nurtures international community’s decades-long gains towards peace, economic prosperity and social inclusion worldwide.”
The Day draws attention to the plight of more than 75 million 3-to-18-year-olds living in 35 crisis-affected countries and to their urgent need of educational support. It expresses concern over the effects of continued violence on these children and their ability to access education, whose consequences require special attention beyond the needs of learners whose establishments were temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The General Assembly resolution affirms that governments have the primary responsibility to provide protection and ensure inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels to all learners, especially those in vulnerable situations. It further emphasizes the need to intensify efforts and increase funding to promote safe and protective school environments in humanitarian emergencies by taking all feasible measures to protect schools, learners and educational personnel from attack, refrain from actions that impede children’s access to education, and facilitate access to education in situations of armed conflict.
UNESCO and UNICEF will facilitate the annual observance of the Day in close collaboration with partners within and outside the UN system. Working on the frontlines in conflict-affected countries, the UN entities have long assisted Member States in strengthening their capacity to provide access to quality educational opportunities for all in times of crisis.
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