Let me start by thanking all Council Members for their contributions, and constructive spirit in the lead up to today's adoption. I must also, of course, thank our dear co-penholder Niger, for their great cooperation, and longstanding commitment to addressing this topic.
We also sincerely thank our education partners from civil society and NGOs who have supported the work on this resolution. And who - every day - make a difference by providing education opportunities for children in armed conflict.
We are confident that this resolution is a strong contribution to the Council’s clear voice on addressing the disruption of education.
Education is under attack around the world.
More than 11,000 attacks, harming more than 22,000 students and educators in at least 93 countries – were reported between 2014 and 2019.
The destruction of educational facilities, and denial of access to education has immediate, as well as long-term negative impacts on: the lives of children and youth, their communities, and society as a whole.
And this has been recognised by the Council today.
For the first time - the Security Council has adopted a resolution uniquely dedicated to the protection of education.
It highlights the invaluable role that education plays for peace and security; and calls upon Member States to protect schools and education facilities from attacks.
It also recognises the need for concrete measures to mitigate the negative consequences caused by the military use of schools.
And places an important emphasis on the vulnerability of girls.
The high number of co-sponsors also strengthens these calls.
We are grateful for the 99 Member States confirming their support so far. This is an expression of a truly global commitment to this important cause.
A few days ago, we - the Security Council - visited the Sahel. From this experience I’m convinced that this resolution couldn't be more timely:
4,000 schools in the Sahel countries are closed. More than 13 million children are deprived of their right to education.
The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened risks, increased protection needs, and threatens to undo gains previously made in ensuring access to education, and the protection of children in armed conflict.
For example, we know that in some areas schools have increasingly been viewed as strategic military targets.
And in areas that were already affected by school closures due to conflict, the pandemic has made an already challenging situation worse.
Where girls have been disproportionately impacted, as they are less likely to return to schools once their education has been interrupted.
Our work as the Council clearly does not end today. We must ensure that the resolution is fully implemented, and that we use this momentum to move further forward.
We must do more:
· to safeguard educational institutions from military use and attacks;
· and ensure the continuation of education during conflicts- including by investing in education in situations of crisis and conflict.