Launch of the INEE Minimum Standards for Education, 2024 Edition at HNPW 2024

On 7 May at Humanitarian Networks and Partnerships Weeks, the Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) and Geneva Global Hub for Education in Emergencies (EiE Hub) co-hosted the first public launch of the INEE Minimum Standards, 2024 Edition

Over 270 education stakeholders worldwide joined in-person and online to commemorate this momentous collective milestone for the EiE community. “Personally, I’ve seen the importance of the INEE Minimum Standards at the global level and the field level,” said Petra Heusser, Coordinator at the EiE Hub. “At the global level, as a touchstone for setting benchmarks, and at the field level as a continuous companion for EiE stakeholders in their work.” The event was an opportunity to showcase the updated INEE Minimum Standards and the broad consultative process that informed it. (Watch this short video to learn more about the update process.) Delegates from UNICEF, Education Cannot Wait, the Global Education Cluster, Sphere, UNHCR, and UNESCO joined for a dynamic and critical discussion where they reflected on key developments and learning in EiE over the last decade, how these diverse perspectives have been reflected in the updated handbook, and the role of the INEE Minimum Standards in supporting education stakeholders everywhere in upholding the right to education at all times.

“These updated Minimum Standards recognize education as an investment in both individual and national development,” said Hazel de Wet, Deputy Director, Office of Emergency Programmes, UNICEF. “For us, as UNICEF, they are a strong affirmation that education forms part of the immediate emergency response.” 

Panelists discussed the importance of locally led humanitarian action and how the updated INEE Minimum Standards provide a common framework for elevating and centering the knowledge and agency of crisis-affected communities. “The new edition has amplified the importance of community participation and capacity development, ensuring that there is meaningful participation of affected populations beyond just participating in needs assessments and focus group discussions, but being in the room where decisions are being made and when programs are being designed,” said Dianah Nelsen, Education Chief at Education Cannot Wait.

In reflecting on the role of humanitarian standards, William Anderson, Director of Sphere said, “As humanitarian standards, we are not rulebooks. We encourage, we support, we enable, and we advocate. The Standards are like a light-house. They are not a threat. They are a torch-bearer, a safeguard, a guidance. At their heart, they are all about dignity. The purpose isn’t to standardize or professionalize. It is to uphold and respect people’s dignity.”

Jennifer Roberts, Senior Education Officer (Emergencies) at UNHCR, spoke about new developments and perspectives in refugee education policy and practice. “The INEE Minimum Standards are critically important for addressing both new displacements and the necessary responses for people entering countries and fleeing across borders, as well as those that are living in protracted displacement situations,” she said.

In closing, panelists recognized the significance of the 2024 update as a substantial advancement for the EiE community. Still, they also acknowledged the challenges ahead and the work required to achieve the aspirations set out in the Standards. “The Global Education Cluster is committed to supporting country clusters and partners to contextualise the new INEE Minimum Standards to drive quality and consistency of responses and contribute to learning,” said Michelle Brown, Coordinator at the Global Education Cluster.

Still, they also acknowledged the challenges ahead and the work required to achieve the aspirations set out in the INEE MS, and that ultimately, it is only possible through the collective action of the global education community. “The most important thing about the Minimum Standards is the person whose hands they’re in,” said William Anderson.

“UNESCO has responded to hundreds of crisis contexts, and in all of those contexts, the Minimum Standards are the first thing that’s brought onto the table,” said Hoda Jaberian, Programme Coordinator, Section for Migration, Displacement, Emergencies and Education at UNESCO. 

Explore the INEE Minimum Standards, 2024 Edition, and other supporting resources on the INEE websiteA recording of this event is available on Youtube.