The Geneva Global Hub for Education in Emergencies recently made a submission to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, on its Draft General Comment on children’s rights and the environment with a special focus on climate change. The aim of this submission was to highlight the importance of including guidance and consideration on the right to education in emergencies when considering the rights of children in the context of climate change.
Prioritising education in emergencies is vital to provide support for climate change adaptation and mitigation, and to address the rapidly intensifying climate emergency which threatens children’s rights to education globally and often compounds existing emergencies. The EiE Hub calls on the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child to ensure its General Comment recognises climate change as a global emergency threatening directly children’s right to education.
Extreme weather events such as heat and cold waves, storms, torrential rains, drought, wildfires, and floods, can have both sudden and incremental impacts on children’s right to education. Climate-related disasters can expose children and teaching staff to death, injury, and physical harm, damage school infrastructure, and disrupt educational attainment both immediately and over time, including due to long-term economic impacts. States should address the effects of climate change on and in education and ensure financial resources and adequate policy measures to prioritise education in emergencies, including by simplifying administrative procedures for climate displaced children in accessing education.
Governments should build the resilience of the education sector in the face of climate change, including through multi-sectoral, crisis-sensitive and risk-informed planning and programming, with a comprehensive approach to school safety and provision of quality education in emergencies, in consultation with children, teachers and parents, and others, and through the collection of disaggregated data and evidence to inform planning and programming. Policymaking must also take into account intersectionality to address barriers that affect learners in addition to climate change and displacement.