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Transforming Partnership for Education in Emergencies: UNESCO renews its response for Education in Afghanistan and neighboring countries

Transforming Partnership for Education in Emergencies: UNESCO renews its response for Education in Afghanistan and neighboring countries

The Afghanistan Core Coordination Team (CCT) Meeting, in session from 31 October to 2 November at the UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education, Bangkok, brings together education leads from multiple regional and national offices of United Nations agencies and key UN funds, as well as partners for education in emergencies and protracted crises, to review progress made to date, persistent challenges, and upcoming priorities in the critical education situation in Afghanistan and neighboring countries.  

31 October 2022 – Bangkok: From 31 October to 2 November 2022, high-level representatives from regional UN agencies will gather in Bangkok for their first Afghanistan Core Coordination Team (ACCT) Meeting. The Meeting aims to take stock of progress made to date, and remaining challenges regarding the UN education response to multiple aspects of the Afghanistan education crisis, as well as to update the UNESCO Multi Country Preparedness and Response Plan (MCPRP) for the Afghanistan situation, both actions having been implemented at the national and regional levels in Afghanistan just over a year ago (August 2021). 

The three-day meeting is being hosted by the UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education (UNESCO Bangkok) and brings together education leads from Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan from, among others, UNESCO’s Section for Migration, Displacement, Emergencies and Education at Headquarters; the UN Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific; UNESCO National Office to Afghanistan; UN Education Cannot Wait (ECW); Global Partnership for Education; and the UNESCO National Office to Cambodia

Participants in the meeting

Key objectives of the meeting include briefing participants on aligning objectives in Afghanistan with the outcomes of the UN’s recent Transforming Education Summit (TES), namely its Calls to Action for Education in Crisis Situations; and the Call to Action for the UN Education in Emergencies Global Consultation: a Common Platform (EiEPC). The meeting also aims to facilitate follow-up actions and concrete linkages between these Calls to Action and interventions to be made at country, regional and global levels. Participants will discuss strategic plans and potential new partnerships; potential financing modalities — such as the Triple Nexus Approach, or the programming and financing of EiEPC facilitated by ECW and GPE; and how to most effectively support the capacity of teams on Education in Emergencies (EiE) programming. A core feature of the meeting will be a peer-to-peer ‘learning session’, wherein ground-level case studies shared among participants will inform future approaches to challenges facing education stakeholders in Afghanistan’s unique context, one in which women and girls continue to be denied re-entry to secondary school.  

Speaking from UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, Assistant Director-General for Education Ms Stefania Giannini noted the urgency of taking concerted regional and global action to swiftly and effectively redress education derailments in Afghanistan since the de facto government took over the country just over a year ago. Ms Giannini notes,  

Building on the outcomes of the UN’s Transforming Education Summit of September, our energies must now be focused on implementing what we all committed to during the Summit. I’m convinced that the new regional action plan in response to the situation in Afghanistan will stand as a concrete follow-up to the Summit: to [collectively address] the urgent need of over 8 million Afghan children and youth in the country and beyond its borders whose education has been interrupted by armed conflict and displacement. 

ADG Stefania Giannini
Ms Stefania Giannini, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education

Also noting the potential for this meeting to serve Afghans not only in the country but throughout the regional Afghan diaspora, Mr Shigeru Aoyagi, Director of the UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education (UNESCO Bangkok), commented,  

This meeting is particularly timely, as it brings together key education stakeholders, as well as humanitarian, development and peace partners who are supporting the education of Afghans in Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan...Over the past 15 months alone, Afghanistan has seen almost two decades of progress on education outcomes reversed. Afghan girls have been prevented from attending secondary school. The ongoing crisis has had a detrimental impact on young women in higher education as well, with a 60 per cent decline in enrollment recorded. 

Participants in the meeting

On the critical necessity of all UNESCO agencies and education stakeholders to come together to affect substantial and lasting improvements to Asia-Pacific regional education programming, Mr David McLachlan-Karr, Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific of the UN Development Coordination Office, noted,  

The Transforming Education Summit highlighted once again the need to increase coordination within UN agencies, to find pathways to durable solutions for education and achieving SDG 4, not only within existing mechanisms but also by defining new ways of working as One United Nations. 

Outcomes from the Afghanistan Core Coordination Team (ACCT) Meeting will be integrated in current and future planning for the region, and will be reported to education stakeholders locally, regionally, and globally to help inform all relevant Education in Emergencies initiatives. 

Participants in the meeting

For UNESCO’s recent 20-year review of the education situation in Afghanistan of 2021:

For information on the activities of the UNESCO National Office to Afghanistan in Kabul:

For information on a recent UNESCO initiative pertaining to conflict sensitivity programming in Afghanistan:

For more information: g.galligan(at)unesco.org

Main photo credit: Amors photos/shutterstock