The Geneva Global Hub for Education in Emergencies is an ambitious commitment towards the realisation of the right to education for crisis-affected and displaced children and youth and comes at a time of unprecedented humanitarian needs. Of the world’s approximately 257 million primary and secondary school-age children out of school, 127 million live in countries affected by emergencies. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this situation. We are witnessing a global crisis in which children and youth are at heightened risk of losing years of education. The urgent need to respond effectively to the education needs of the world’s most vulnerable children and youth is why the co-signatories pledged at the 2019 Global Refugee Forum to make Geneva the Global Hub for Education in Emergencies.
Humanitarian crises, conflict and displacement deny millions of children and youth their right to education. The situation is even starker at primary level, in 2019, less than one-third of primary-school-age children resided in crisis-affected countries, but almost three-quarters of those out of school resided in these countries. At the same time, education is one of the most underfunded sectors in humanitarian response plans and is particularly vulnerable to economic shocks.
The Geneva Global Hub for Education in Emergencies focuses on school- aged children and youth (meaning access and completion of quality pre-primary, compulsory primary and secondary education, including non- formal educational pathways and transition to the formal national education system) in line with SDG 4.1. und 4.2. Concerning tertiary education, the Hub is involved in research and evidence-creation for EiE and data; in certain circumstances, the Hub may engage in dialogue on the transition from compulsory to post-compulsory education. The Hub’s focus includes all crisis-affected children and youth, regardless of their status (i.e. refugee, host community, internally displaced children and youth, as well as those affected by conflict, violence, disasters and epidemics).
Our commitment to contribute to the realisation of the right to education for crisis-affected and displaced children and youth comes at a time of unprecedented humanitarian needs. The number of forcibly displaced people is at an all-time high and continues to climb. We are witnessing a global crisis in which children and youth are at heightened risk to lose years of education. The Geneva Global Hub will be a catalyst for joint action among members and increased collaboration with other sectors to prioritise education in emergencies. The Hub will harness the expertise and capabilities of International Geneva’s diplomats, humanitarian, development, migration, human rights, protection and peace experts and organisations, and academia to inspire change internationally, increase country- level impact as well as political, financial and operational commitments for education in emergencies.
Geneva is the world’s humanitarian capital. Yet, when it comes to education in
emergencies, the related opportunities remain largely untapped. That is why the Hub will work across sectors and strengthen the collaboration between Geneva’s wide array of experts and organisations to contribute to the realisation of the right to education for all crisis-affected children and youth. Rather than creating simply a new institution and more fragmentation, the Hub brings together the expertise and capabilities of a range of key actors. It builds on the strengths, functions and mandates of its members through complementary and collaborative action. Therefore, our joint action will bring the strategic community of committed thought leaders in Geneva together to prioritise the education in emergencies agenda and nurture global leadership. We are also committed to reducing the duplication of efforts, increasing synergies and addressing gaps.
The Geneva Global Hub for Education in Emergencies will strengthen policy and integrated approaches across the humanitarian, development, peace and migration spectrum to better prioritise and deliver inclusive education in emergencies for crisis-affected children and youth. This will be achieved through increased collaboration of International Geneva actors and beyond, including linking up with other relevant initiatives. We are committed to inspire political will and commitment, and influence agenda setting so that governments and partners see education as a top priority before, during and after emergencies and in protracted crises. Our joint action will boost the country-level impact of education in emergencies preparedness measures and responses through better data, evidence on what works, innovative research and solutions that support the delivery of safe and quality education while building resilient education systems. Overall, the Hub will be a catalyst to accelerate progress towards SDG 4 in humanitarian settings and help realise the commitments set out in the Global Compact for Refugees.
The Hub Steering Group is the independent governance and oversight body and is made up of the initial co-signatories. The Steering Group contributes to the overall strategic work. A Technical Working Group provides technical expertise and takes on leadership for various activities as per the work plan. The Secretariat is composed of a dedicated Hub Coordinator, seconded by Switzerland and hosted by the Global Education Cluster in UNICEF’s Office of Emergency Programmes (EMOPS) Geneva offices, and works together with a Communications Specialist and a part-time Communications and Advocacy Associate.
The Hub was created at the 2019 Global Refugee Forum through a pledge made by the initial co- signatories. The pledge is a commitment to collectively advance the objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees. Therefore, the Hub will report on the progress of the pledge to its co-signatories and UNHCR as guarding of the GRF.
The Hub strives to keep agile ways of working and aims to use existing funding modalities. We are committed to combining and coordinating resources and by reducing duplication of efforts, we will increase synergies and make savings go further. The co-signatories will seek to mobilise resources as necessary. At the same time, we will inspire political will and influence agenda setting among the Geneva strategic community of committed thought leaders so that governments and partners see education as a top priority before, during and after emergencies and in protracted crises. This can help inspire political commitment, increase engagement, widen participation and substantially raise the levels of financial support for country level operations.
The Hub office space is located at Rue de Varembé 7 in Geneva, close to the UN HQ and managed by Education Cannot Wait. The shared workspace officially opened on 7 October 2021, hosting staff from Education Cannot Wait (ECW) as well as other members of the Geneva Global Hub for Education in Emergencies. This is an exciting new venue which enables organisations advancing the delivery of education in emergencies to work together more closely and more collaboratively in the heart of Geneva’s international district.
Within the available capacity, ECW in consultation with the Hub will provide office space to members.
Discussions, policy events and more will be held with a wide range of stakeholders either at the Hub offices or close-by locations.
The Geneva Global Hub is open to building a wide partnership around common areas of focus. See the How to Become a Member page.
The Geneva Global Hub for Education in Emergencies is open to all States on the following basis:
1) Any State may co-sign the GRF pledge and become a member of the Geneva Global Hub for Education in Emergencies by expressing its interest to co-sign the pledge to the Geneva Global Hub for EiE Secretariat.
2) Co-signatories are expected to support the Hub’s mission, function and modalities as set out here.
The Hub encourages all partners to participate in reaching all children and youth who cannot access quality and safe education or whose schooling is interrupted because of emergency, protracted crises, climate change, disasters, violence or epidemics. Collaboration across sectors and donors is needed for a lasting impact on the education of the most vulnerable children and youth. Businesses, foundations and philanthropists can support as follows:
- Contribute financial resources: provide philanthropic contributions to the Hub for its work plan implementation or to specific emergencies via its members. We encourage companies to creatively identify ways to engage in mobilizing resources.
- Donate in-kind services or products: businesses can provide core business assets, including the deployment of products, services and human resources to operationalize the Hub’s activities.
- Share innovations: we encourage everyone to pinpoint and raise discussion on innovations that could address education in emergencies’ challenges.
We are eager to collaborate to foster innovation and the identification and scale-up of transformative and intersectoral solutions.