The Swiss delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie (APF), led by State Counsellor Charles Juillard, is bringing Education in Emergencies (EiE) to the table at the APF Plenary Session held in Tbilisi, Georgia on 7-8 July.
The APF, and Switzerland’s delegation in particular, has strongly advocated for EiE at the international level, including by adopting a resolution on the strengthening of education in emergencies in the wake of COVID-19 which, among other things, served as the model for the Geneva Declaration on Education in Emergencies and Protracted Crises. The Geneva Declaration provides a framework for raising awareness of the unprecedented impact of forced displacement and humanitarian crises on education, and sets out the challenge posed by humanitarian emergencies to the realisation of the education Sustainable Development Goal (SDG).
“For us in the International Francophonie, the right to education is essential,” said Swiss member of parliament Nicolas Walder, speaking at the launch of the Geneva Declaration at the Education Cannot Wait High Level Financing Conference in February. “Education is a lifeline for children everywhere, it brings stability and hope to young people and their families, and it is our duty to pursue solidarity and concerted action to support that right to education.”
A question is being posed by the Swiss delegation on 8 July, addressed to the Secretary General of the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF), Ms. Louise Mushikiwabo. It provides an update on the state of EiE, and encourages all OIF members to both contribute to awareness-raising among governments about this crucial issue and engage with Geneva’s Global Hub for Education in Emergencies. The question is as follows (in French and English):
Madame la Secrétaire générale,
Au printemps 2020, la fermeture des établissements scolaires et de formation a privé 95 % des enfants et des jeunes de l’espace francophone d’un enseignement en présentiel. La situation a donné lieu, en janvier 2021, à l’adoption, par l’APF, d’une résolution sur le renforcement de l’éducation en situations de crise. La Déclaration de Genève sur l’éducation dans les situations d’urgence et les crises prolongées, adoptée en février 2023, se base sur cette résolution. Actuellement, 224 millions d’enfants ont urgemment besoin d’un soutien en matière d’éducation ; 72 millions d’entre eux sont déscolarisés. La Genève internationale regroupe de nombreux acteurs engagés dans le domaine. La Suisse a donc décidé de fédérer ces efforts, en faisant de Genève un hub mondial pour l’éducation en situations d’urgence. L’OIF pourrait-elle contribuer à la sensibilisation des gouvernements à la thématique, ainsi qu’à l’existence du hub de Genève ? Cela permettrait d’accroître l’engagement politique et le financement en la matière.
Ms. Secretary General,
In the spring of 2020, the closure of educational and training establishments deprived 95% of the Francophonie’s children and young people of the benefits of in-person teaching. This situation led, in January 2021, to the APF’s adoption of a resolution on the strengthening of education in emergencies. The Geneva Declaration on Education in Emergencies and Protracted Crises, adopted in 2023, is based on this resolution. As things stand, 224 million children and young people are in urgent need of educational support – including 72 million who are out of education entirely. As International Geneva brings together numerous actors active in this arena, Switzerland has decided to unite these efforts by making Geneva a Global Hub for Education in Emergencies. Would the OIF contribute to awareness-raising among governments about this crucial issue, and about engaging with Geneva’s EiE Hub? This would be of great help to the growth of political and financial engagement towards EiE.