Taking part in the signing ceremony were Mr Saad Bin Ibrahim El Mahmoud, Minister of Education and Higher Education of Qatar, Mr Abid Tyab Al Ajeeli, Minister of Higher Education of Iraq, Mr Ali Zainal, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Qatar to UNESCO, Mr Muhyi Al Kateeb, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Iraq to UNESCO, Mr Elias Sanbar, Ambassador and Permanent Observer of Palestine to UNESCO and representatives of the International Committee for Solidarity with the Iraqi Academics.
In opening the signing ceremony, the Director-General paid strong tribute to Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned for her continued commitment to preserving education in conflict affected areas and promoting the right to education in the world. “Her Highness, as the UNESCO Special Envoy for Basic and Higher Education, is giving the international community a strong signal that the provision of emergency education is central to national reconstruction and development efforts. These projects will make a difference on the ground and help to better build societies that value knowledge, EFA goals and human rights”, stated the Director-General.
This framework agreement, for a total amount of USD 26,6 million, aims at supporting the educational system in Iraq (USD 23,8 million) and in the Gaza Strip (USD 2,8 million).
Concerning Iraq, specific projects targeting the most urgent needs to support the re-structuring and enhancement of the educational system focus on the rehabilitation of the Iraqi higher education system, the development of new curricula, literacy and non-formal education, and teacher training. “This Framework Agreement is the result of a longstanding cooperation initiated in 2003 in the framework of the International Fund for Higher Education in Iraq, culminating in the very successful co-organization of the “International Conference on the Right to education in crisis-affected countries: stop jeopardizing the future of Iraq” held in November 2008 at UNESCO Headquarters under the auspices of Her Highness Sheikha Mozah. I am glad to see that we are today concretely translating some of the Recommendations that the Conference made in November 2008 as well as the strong commitment made by Her Highness during my first official visit in Baghdad last May”, underlined the Director-General. (see Flash Infos N°153-2008 and N°084-2009)
In addition, funding will be provided for the five emergency education UNESCO projects retained in the UN Flash Appeal for Gaza (February 2009), aimed at restoring quality education and educational services in the Gaza Strip, in particular at secondary and higher levels. These projects concern the promotion of schools as safe zones, support for crisis planning and management for affected school, training in ‘Interagency Network for Education in Emergencies’ (INEE) Minimum Standards, emergency support to higher education institutions, and provision of emergency secondary education in non-UNRWA schools. “Thanks to this generous additional funding, UNESCO’s humanitarian assistance to the recovery of the education system in Gaza will be considerably scaled up. I am confident we will be better placed now to help the urgent reactivation of educational services in upper secondary and higher education, and the promotion of quality standards in education in the Gaza Strip”, said Mr Matsuura. (see Flash Infos N°014-2009 and N°019-2009)
Dr Abudullah Al Kubaissi, Executive Director of the Office of Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned in signing the Framework Agreement on behalf of Her Highness, described the Framework Agreement as “a renewed strategic engagement with UNESCO to tackle the crucial issue of education in crisis affected areas”, and called upon the international community to “join the collective efforts for protecting educational institutions in times of conflict”.
Mr Saad Bin Ibrahim El Mahmoud, Minister of Education and Higher Education of Qatar, Mr Abid Tyab Al Ajeeli, Minister of Higher Education of Iraq, and Mr Elias Sanbar, Ambassador and Permanent Observer of Palestine to UNESCO, took the floor to underline the inspiring message set by this important commitment made by Her Highness Sheikha Mozah and thank the Director-General of UNESCO for his continued support in favour of the reconstruction and development of crisis affected educational systems in the Arab world and beyond.
Author(s): Office of the Spokesperson - Source: Flash Info N° 138-2009 - Publication Date: 09-07-2009