UNESCO focuses on education and the protection of journalists at World Humanitarian Summit



The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, will champion the cause of education for children and youth affected by crisis and the need to improve the protection of journalists in crisis situations at the United Nations Humanitarian Summit, which will take place in Istanbul, Turkey, on 23 and 24 May.

The Summit is taking place as the world is experiencing its greatest need for humanitarian action since World War II.

The Director-General will take part in the launch of a multi-stakeholder fund, entitled Education Cannot Wait – A Fund for Education in Emergencies, conceived to fill the US$2.3 billion funding gap needed to meet the education needs of refugee children and adolescents.

The Director-General will take part in the special session on “Education in Emergencies and Protracted Crisis”, where the fund will be launched (23 May, 4 p.m.). The fund is designed as an innovative mechanism which brings together States, the private sector, intergovernmental organizations and foundations, to mobilize support for short and long term emergency education needs.

Ms Bokova argues that “the launch of the Education Cannot Wait Fund is an essential, long-needed step to join all forces, to bridge emergency action and long-term development, especially SDG 4,” the fourth Sustainable Development Goal for 2030, which calls for quality education for all, adopted by the United Nations’ General Assembly as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Director-General will also take part in a session, Protecting Journalists and Promoting Independent Reporting in Crisis Situations (24 May, 12.30-1.30 pm), in which she will advocate for the implementation of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.

The work of journalists is particularly important in situations of crisis where accurate reporting can help alleviate human suffering and save lives. The media can also contribute to the reduction of risks by preventing, mitigating and preparing people for disasters, rectifying rumours, and empowering citizens, humanitarian workers and decision-makers to take informed decisions. Safety of journalists and press freedom are also important issues promoted by UNESCO as part of SDG 16.

UNESCO also brings its expertise in disaster risk reduction to the World Humanitarian Summit. Working alone or in collaboration with other UN Agencies and scientific institutions, UNESCO has been a catalyst for international, inter-disciplinary cooperation in many aspects of disaster risk reduction and mitigation, notably with the establishment of early warning tsunami and earthquake alert networks around the globe.


The summit will be webcast (http://webtv.un.org).

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Media contact: Roni Amelan, r.amelan(at)unesco.org