What is the World Humanitarian Summit and what will it mean for education?

Children in conflicts, Education funding, Education in emergencies

The first ever World Humanitarian Summit could see a breakthrough moment for millions of children whose education has been disrupted by humanitarian emergencies.

Don’t know much about the gathering or why it’s important for global education? Then read on…

What is the World Humanitarian Summit?

It is the first time in the 70 years of the United Nations that world leaders and other players in the humanitarian field have gathered for a global conference. It was called by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Where and when is it being held?

In Istanbul, Turkey, on May 23 and 24. As well as the main sessions, there will be roundtable discussions, side events, a summit exhibition fair and an innovation exhibition.

What are the goals of the summit?

  1. To re-inspire and reinvigorate a commitment to humanity and humanitarian principles
  2. To initiate a set of concrete actions and commitments to enable countries and communities to to be bettered prepared for – and able to react to – crises and shock events
  3. To share best practices which can help save lives, put affected people at the centre of humanitarian action and ease suffering

Who is going?

About 5000 people! They include heads of state of government from countries around the world, together with leaders from business, aid organisations, civil society, affected communities and young people.

What is on the agenda?

There was a year-long consultation process involving more than 23,000 people in 153 countries.

An agenda was then set and the issues to be tackled include:

  • A new global approach to managing the issue of people being forcibly displaced from their homes – including refugees who move to other countries
  • Empowering girls and women and getting action on gender equality
  • Adapting new approaches to respond to protracted crises and disasters by bridging the gap between development and humanitarian partners
  • Securing adequate and predictable finance to save lives and ease suffering

What will happen after the summit?

A set of actions will be agreed and acted on to enable countries and communities to be better able to handle humanitarian emergencies.

What does the summit mean for education?

In 2015 conflicts and natural disasters disrupted the schooling of 75 million children, over half of them girls. Despite this, less than 2% of all humanitarian aid went to education – leaving girls and boys vulnerable to trafficking, child labour, early marriage and extremism.

At the summit, world leaders are launching the first ever fund for education in emergency situations – called the Education Cannot Wait fund.

What will the Education Cannot Wait Fund do?

It will deliver education in safe schools to those who need it most in the aftermath of emergencies such as the Syrian conflict and the Nepal earthquake. The fund aims to raise $3.85 billion across the next five years.

What happens next?

World leaders have commited to start the fund – but now they need to step up and match their words with action. Gordon Brown, the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, has challenged donors to ensure it is successful.

And more than 150,000 campaigners and young people have backed our campaign calling on world leaders to ensure the fund has the money it needs to deliver education to those most in need.

Who will contribute to the fund?

Mr Brown said the goal is for more than 100 leading countries, companies and philanthropists to join forces. More than 60 businesses have already agreed to take part, alongside many of the world’s top aid donors.

How can I get involved in the World Humanitarian Summit?

You can follow on social media using the hashtags #ShareHumanity and #EducationCannotWait. A World at School will be carrying news, pictures and videos from the summit – including side events on education hosted by our parent charity Theirworld and the Global Business Coalition for Education.

Where can I get more information about the summit?

At the official website here. You can also visit there on May 23 and 24 for livestreaming of the main sessions.

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