Global Business Coalition for Education Focuses on Syria Crisis

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DG at a school in Jordan with Syrian refugees
© UNESCO

The new education goal in the 2030 agenda will frame stronger action in emergency situations but requires increased funding, more innovative partnerships and a shift in outlook to bridge the humanitarian and developmental divide, said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova at an event organized by the Global Business for Education on 29 September in New York, on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly.

“Apart from being an ethical and moral imperative, education in emergencies is a security imperative and a preventive measures against extremism,” asserted Irina Bokova.

The event, hosted by Sarah Brown, Executive Chair of the Global Business Coalition from Education, focused on the crisis in Syria and brought together US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken, ministers from Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Norway, the UN Global Compact, Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi, business leaders and multilateral and bilateral agencies.

All underscored the scale of the needs, the urgency of stepping up funding and mobilizing new partners. Western Union will allocate 10 cents of every transaction to the refugee crisis, noting that 30% of customer transactions go towards financing children’s education. 

The UN Global Compact has launched a Business for Peace initiative to mobilize companies in support of education delivery in conflict situations. 

Warning against the cost of inaction, Norway’s Foreign Minister reiterated his country’s decision to double aid to education with a strong emphasis on emergencies, while the EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management shared his decision to step up financial support to education from 2% to 4% of the humanitarian aid budget. 

Special Envoy Gordon Brown reiterated the need for a Global Humanitarian Fund for Education in Emergencies to provide predictable and long-term support.