UNESCO and the European Union step up support to education for IDPs and refugees in Iraq


Baghdad, 19 December – UNESCO and the European Union (EU) have signed an agreement to support primary and secondary education for IDP and refugee children and youth in Iraq.

Conflict in Iraq is leaving hundreds of thousands of children and youth without any access to quality education, putting their future in jeopardy. This is particularly true for the most vulnerable, including IDPs, returnees and refugees. The on-going Mosul crisis is further accelerating this trend.

The new EU-UNESCO programme “Access to inclusive quality primary and secondary education in crisis-affected areas in Iraq” will give 100,000 IDP and refugee children and youth, the opportunity of getting back to school, to start or to pursue their education when it has been interrupted due to the conflict. The programme will considerably scale up UNESCO’s existing efforts to ensure educational opportunities for IDPs and refugees. It will also support the development of national capacity to plan and manage education in emergencies in Iraq, in a more effective and timely manner.

On this occasion, Deputy Minister of Education Dr. Awad Salih Mohammed emphasized that “it is imperative and urgent to restore quality education for hundres of thousands children and young people, displaced and traumtized, as a result of Daesh presence in Iraq. Education cannot wait. The Iraqi Government looks forward to working hand in hand with UNESCO, the European Union and their partners to bring safe learning environments and quality teaching to the young generation in the country”.

“UNESCO warmly welcomes this new commitment by the European Union to education in emergencies in Iraq. This new partnership further strengthens our shared engagement to leave no child behind and put the right to education at the centre of recovery and development in the country. Providing education to children and youth is key to build a better future, based on knowledge, common values and skills.”, stressed Mrs. Louise Haxthausen, Officer-In-Charge of the UNESCO Iraq Office.

Finally, EU Ambassador to Iraq Patrick Simonnet, said: “we are sadly reminded on a daily basis what challenges Iraq has to face, and this initiative is both timely and topical as more impetus on education is needed in light of the population flux and its resulting strains. We are confident that UNESCO and its partners, in cooperation with the Iraqi authorities, will bridge the gaps at this critical time and ensure the education is sustained – both equally and qualitatively – for all Iraqis.”