Education for children in emergency situations: Switzerland continues its support

Press releases, 14.06.2024

Armed conflicts, forced displacement and natural disasters mean that more and more children have no or only limited access to education. At its meeting on 14 June 2024, the Federal Council therefore decided to continue supporting the United Nations Education Cannot Wait (ECW) fund, which is committed to providing access to education in emergency situations and protracted crises. For the 2025–28 period, the Federal Council approved a contribution of CHF 33.3 million to the ECW, which Switzerland has supported with CHF 40 million since 2019.

Floods, droughts, extreme heat and armed conflicts jeopardise children's access to education. The number of children worldwide who have no or only limited access to education has risen to 226 million, with girls and displaced and marginalised children being particularly affected. Long-term lack of access to education for children has harmful economic and social impacts on society as a whole.

Established in 2016, the ECW aims to ensure that children affected by emergency situations and prolonged crises have access to safe educational opportunities. By September 2023, the ECW had successfully provided 8.8 million girls and boys affected by crises with access to educational programmes. In addition, the fund enabled 31.2 million children to continue their education during the COVID–19 pandemic.

Opening up future prospects

Access to education opens up future prospects for the children concerned. At the same time, education is an engine for economic development and better living conditions and makes an important contribution to stability and security.

Education has long been a high priority for Switzerland within its international cooperation programmes. Switzerland is globally recognised as a pioneer in facilitating access to education in emergency situations, notably through its efforts to connect international education stakeholders such as the ECW, the Geneva Global Hub for Education in Emergencies, and the Geneva-based Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies. Advocating for access to education in emergency situations is a crucial aspect of protecting civilian populations, which is a key priority for Switzerland within the UN Security Council.

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