Promoting access to quality, safe, and relevant education for all persons affected by crisis

Education and the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction

28 May 2013

by Peter Transburg, INEE Coordinator for Communications and Knowledge Management

The fourth Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (GP13) occurred from 19-24 May 2013 in Geneva, and education was on everyone’s mind.

Education was in the formal Communiqué produced during the High-Level Dialogue, where representatives from 35 countries called on leaders to, among other things, improve school infrastructure and fund a “global safe schools” campaign. Education was also highlighted in several feature events (photos below) organized by education actors who presented the ongoing work in many countries to reduce disaster risks to and through education.

But it was the youngest voices that said it best. In a session that was organized and led by children and youth (photo at right), where more than 100 people had to stand at the back of the room because the 500+ seats were already filled, youth experts (themselves!) from Japan, Vietnam, Lesotho, Norway and the UK shared their experiences in recent disasters and made strong recommendations for the post-2015 global agreement on DRR, aka the Hyogo Framework for Action 2 (HFA2).

Based on the Children’s Charter for DRR, their recommendations follow five priorities:

  1. Schools must be safe and education must not be interrupted
  2. Protecting children must be a priority before, during, and after a disaster
  3. Children have the right to participate and to access the information they need
  4. Community infrastructure (including schools) must be safe, and relief and reconstruction must help reduce future risk.
  5. Disaster risk reduction must reach the most vulnerable

(Click to download the 2013 progress report on the Children's Charter for DRR, The Resilient Future Children Want)

With many ministers and Global Platform organizers seated in rapt attention in the front row of this powerful youth event, the message that education is critical in DRR could not have been more strongly made.

Key stakeholders in DRR and education, including UNESCO, UNICEF, Save the Children, Plan International, IFRC, World Vision, the World Bank, UNISDR, INEE, and others also used the Global Platform to officially launch the Global Alliance on Risk Reduction and Resilience in the Education Sector (the Global Alliance). The main purpose of the Global Alliance is to contribute to a culture of safety and resilience through education and knowledge by strengthening global coordination, facilitating the exchange of information and knowledge, and advocating for DRR education and safety of educational facilities.

The Global Alliance promotes a comprehensive approach to DRR and education based on education policy, plans, and programmes that are aligned with disaster management at national, regional, district and local school site levels. It rests on three pillars (from the joint Comprehensive School Safety initiative) around which three distinct working groups will be created within the Global Alliance:

  • Safe Educational Facilities: including site selection, safe access (functionality), safe construction and retrofit (global structural and local structural), and non-structural safety;
  • School Disaster Management: including standard operating procedures, ongoing school-based planning for risk reduction and educational continuity, drills etc.; and
  • Risk Reduction and Resilience Education: the integration of DRR into teaching and learning, including DRR in formal school curricula and non-formal education within the framework of Education for Sustainable Development.

INEE supports the Children’s Charter for DRR and the Comprehensive School Safety framework, and will be an active member of the new Global Alliance on Risk Reduction and Resilience in the Education Sector.

More information and resources on EiE and DRR can be found in the INEE Toolkit.