As the world’s humanitarian capital, Geneva, Switzerland is host to many actors who can make a difference for the education of crisis-affected children and youth. It has a vibrant and multilateral diplomatic community and offers a rich tapestry of academic institutions, NGOs and private sector entities, whether they operate in the education field or in related spheres: from humanitarian to development, from migration to human rights, from protection to peacebuilding, from climate to water and health.
Here are just a few examples of key bodies to engage with in Geneva – in particular, to ensure that education is brought into key decision-making discussions around humanitarian interventions, peace, human rights and health:
UN Geneva (UNOG) is the second most important in the United Nations system after the New York headquarters and serves as the main operational base for multilateral activities. It brings together individuals, organizations and nations to ensure a better future for all. As a diplomatic center, with near universal representation of states, Geneva is the ideal location for successful international cooperation. Over 12,000 meetings are held at the Palais des Nations every year, each in different ways touching the lives of people around the globe.
The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them. It has the ability to discuss all thematic human rights issues and situations that require its attention throughout the year. It meets at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
The IASC is the longest-standing and highest-level humanitarian coordination forum of the UN system, bringing together the executive heads of 18 UN and non-UN organizations to ensure coherence of preparedness and response efforts, formulate policy, and agree on priorities for strengthened humanitarian action. Its responsibilities include: making strategic and policy decisions with system-wide implications; endorsing major operational decisions; arbitration where no consensus can be reached by other IASC structures; advocating common principles, collectively or individually on behalf of the IASC; approving the work plans of the IASC structures; bringing issues to the attention of the Secretary-General and Security Council through the ERC; and, designating Humanitarian Coordinators and selecting coordination arrangements.
Established in 1962 by a small coalition of refugee and migration focused non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the ICVA has grown into a diverse network of over 100 NGO members operating in 160 countries at global, regional, national and local levels. ICVA connects the voices of its members to: share and exchange experiences and information; collaborate on common issues; harness varying perspectives and inspire each other; engage with and influence other actors, including the UN, governments and regional organisations. ICVA is a standing invitee of the IASC.
A unique platform that brings together UN Member States, UN organizations, humanitarian and development partners, the private sector and affected communities. Each June, they discuss and agree on how to best tackle the most recent and pressing humanitarian concerns. Interactive panel discussions and side events share the latest information on current opportunities and challenges.
Since Governments have the primary responsibility to protect human rights, the OHCHR provides assistance to Governments so they can implement the international human rights standards they’ve committed to. This assistance includes expertise and technical trainings in the areas of administration of justice, legislative reform, and electoral processes. It also assists other entities with responsibility to protect human rights to fulfil their obligations and individuals to realize their rights, supports the establishment and strengthening of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), and collaborates with them to implement their mandates to promote and protect human rights. It also hosts the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the right to education established to examine the crucial issue of the right of all persons to access quality education without discrimination, and to provide recommendations to Governments and other stakeholders.
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all UN Member States. The UPR is a State-driven process, under the auspices of the Human Rights Council, which provides the opportunity for each State to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfil their human rights obligations.
UNHCR, which is headquartered in Geneva, aims to aid and protect refugees, forcibly displaced communities, and stateless people, and to assist in their voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to a third country. UNHCR advocates for the specific needs of refugees of all ages to be considered within education in emergency responses and promotes response options that support inclusion in national education systems from the start of an emergency.
The work of the ICRC is based on the Geneva Conventions of 1949, their Additional Protocols, its Statutes – and those of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement – and the resolutions of the International Conferences of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. The ICRC is an independent, neutral organization ensuring humanitarian protection and assistance for victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence. It takes action in response to emergencies and at the same time promotes respect for international humanitarian law and its implementation in national law.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is a worldwide humanitarian aid organization that reaches 160 million people each year through its 192-member National Societies. It acts with impartiality as to nationality, race, gender, religious beliefs, class and political opinions, to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people.
WHO leads global efforts to expand universal health coverage. It also directs and coordinates the world’s response to health emergencies.
Switzerland actively supports Geneva’s continued role as diplomatic and humanitarian hub – carrying on a tradition that dates back to the establishment of the first international humanitarian treaty, the Geneva Convention of 1864.
The Campus de la paix extends from Place des Nations to the shores of Lake Geneva, spanning two public parks — Parc Mon Repos and Parc Rigot. Very few academic institutions around the world enjoy such a high-quality working and living environment.
Inaugurated in 1999 by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment and the Canton of Geneva, the International Environment House (IEH) is a complex of two buildings where the offices of various environmental and sustainable development organizations, secretariats and institutions in Geneva are based. IEH aims to foster synergies and encourages partnerships between the organizations.