Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to be here celebrating human security and marking 25 years since the concept was introduced. Our foreign minister at the time, Knut Wollebæk, was one of the firmest believers in this concept, and continues to this day to be a champion for Human Security.
The human security approach is a powerful and proven tool to strengthen local, national and regional strategies towards greater resilience and sustainable development. Education is a right, but also one of the main tools to attain development. As a consistent partner to the UN, education, especially for girls, is one of my governments main priorities.
At a global level, 262 million children are not in school. Crisis and conflict is the reason for why a substantial number of these children and youth are deprived basic human rights. Continued access to safe education is essential and helps protect children from the impacts of armed conflict.
Norway has recently launched a new humanitarian strategy. Protecting and ensuring better access to quality education in emergencies and protracted crises is a key priority. Norway has therefore supported Education Cannot Wait, a fund that plays a crucial role in terms of bridging humanitarian and development efforts in this field.
Education both provides a sense of normalcy during an emergency and is essential to build the foundation for development in crisis affected countries. In this regard, ensuring that education contributes to learning is essential. Children and youth need to develop knowledge and skills that prepare them for the future.
We know that it is the children living in the most vulnerable situations, that are the most excluded. Children with disabilities, children belonging to ethnic minorities, and children living in deep poverty. And children experiencing conflict and displacement.Girls and women are disproportionally affected by crisis and displacement. We know that girls are two and a half times less likely to attend primary school when living in conflict affected countries than those who live in countries not affected by conflict.
Early marriage and early pregnancy, which may be aggravated by violence and displacement, are key threats to girls’ education. Parents failing to understand the value of education for their daughters is another.
Violence, including school-related gender-based violence, makes schools unsafe. In countries where education is under attack, girls and women have been targeted simply because of their gender. Groups that are opposed to girls’ education make schools their battlegrounds. The attack on Malala is only one example. The story told by Nadia Murad is another.
The impact of armed conflict on education continues to present urgent humanitarian, development and wider social challenges. We are particularly concerned about attacks and threats of attacks on schools, teachers, and students, which are occurring in too many countries. Since 2009, attacks on schools have occurred in more than 70 countries. Such attacks include the bombing, shelling and burning of schools and universities, and the killing, injuring, abduction or arbitrary arrest of students and teachers.
Educational facilities are regularly used for military, putting them at risk of attacks and jeopardizing access to education in conflict situations. We must increase our efforts to uphold the right to education, even in conflict situations.
The Safe Schools Declaration is a political effort to reduce the impact of conflict on education. The declaration was launched in Oslo May 2015 at the first Safe Schools conference. Argentina hosted the second conference in 2017. Spain is will host the third conference in May 2019.
As of now, 83 countries have endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration. We encourage all states to endorse the declaration, and to participate in the conference hosted by Spain 28-29 May 2019.
By making schools safer for children today, we are protecting the future.