A call to Governments to implement safe schools globally
The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) is facilitating action with members of the Global Alliance for Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience in the Education Sector (GAD3RES) to promote coherent and coordinated action on school safety globally.
In this spirit, the UNISDR has coordinated the development of a Worldwide Initiative for Safe Schools as a global umbrella partnership programme for school safety implementation that encompasses key safe school initiatives in support of resilient educational facilities, school disaster management and disaster risk reduction and resilience education. The WISS was endorsed by GAD3RES members and resulted in the political commitment of 21 “Safe School Leader” countries to implement school safety on the ground.
Safe School Leader Countries
Committed to supporting the implementation of the Worldwide Initiative for Safe Schools:
Algeria, Brazil, Costa Rica, Croatia, Ecuador, Finland, Honduras, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Mexico, Mongolia, Nepal, Nigeria, Philippines, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Tunisia, Turkey
The Worldwide Initiative for Safe Schools (WISS) is a government-led global partnership for advancing safe school implementation at the national level. The Initiative is coordinated by UNISDR and was developed in collaboration with key partners from the Global Alliance on Disaster Risk Reduction Education and Resilience in the Education Sector as a response to the High Level Dialogue Communiqué at the 2013 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction.
The Worldwide Initiative for Safe Schools focuses on motivating and supporting Governments to develop national strategies and implement school safety. The Initiative builds on the Comprehensive School Safety Framework and defines a safe school as a school combining all of the following elements:
- - Safe Learning Facilities (disaster-resilient infrastructure);
- - School Disaster Management; and
- - Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience Education.
The Initiative also promotes good practices and achievements in safe school implementation for replication in other countries and regions, helps identify challenges and offers technical assistance and particular expertise around the three pillars to support interested Governments in implementing school safety at the national level.
A number of Governments have so far endorsed WISS and the “Istanbul Roadmap” following the First Meeting of Safe School Leaders hosted by the Government of Turkey in October 2014, Istanbul.
The main objectives of the WISS programme are:
- To promote Governments’ good practices, expertise and achievements in safe school implementation for possible replication in other countries and regions;
- To identify remaining challenges to effectively implement safe school;
- To support Governments in developing national strategies for school safety as part of existing national disaster risk reduction or Education plans; and
- To offer technical assistance and particular expertise as required by Governments, around the core three pillars of safe schools.
Governments interested and active in promoting safe schools are invited to become Safe School Leaders as part of the WISS programme.
Second Meeting of Safe School Leaders, 4-5 October 2015, Tehran, I.R. Iran - Ministerial discussion
Ministers of Education from Safe School Leader Countries met the Second Meeting of Safe School Leaders hosted by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Visit the event website
Commitments to Safe Schools at the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, 14-18 March 2015, Sendai, Japan
The “Commitments to Safe Schools” session welcomed high-level representatives from Governments and international organizations and announced commitments to the Worldwide Initiative for Safe Schools and school safety implementation globally. Particular successes on safe schools implementation, innovative partnerships and approaches to safe schools were highlighted. The session also identified specific technical expertise required by Governments to ensure a holistic implementation of safe schools. An implementation plan with key next steps and partnership actions was adopted. For more information, visit the event webpage.
First Meeting of Safe School Leader, 30-31 October 2014, Istanbul, Turkey
In support to the promotion of the Worldwide Initiative for Safe Schools and Governments'commitments to safe schools, the Government of Turkey hosted the first meeting of the "Safe School Leaders" on 30-31 October 2014, Istanbul, Turkey.
The First Meeting of Safe School Leaders with the participation of 16 countries, developed a draft ‘Istanbul Roadmap’ which was presented at the WCDRR and will be further revised in close coordination with Safe School Leader countries, building on the commitments made to WISS and safe schools implementation at the Commitments to Safe Schools session. In addition, the Former President of Finland, Ms. Halonen committed to serve as global advocate for WISS and school safety in the context of her new function as Disaster Risk Reduction Champion.
Regional initiatives in support of school safety
Becoming a Safe School Leader - What does it entail?
Safe School Leaders are expected to make safe schools a priority as part of their national planning and education agenda.
- Allocate national budget for safe school implementation domestically or in partner countries.
- Mobilize Ministries of Education and Planning in the development of national strategies for safe school.
- Assess the status of safe schools implementation at country level.
- Share experiences and good practices in safe schools implementation.
- Foster the development of national strategies for safe schools as part of their national education plan or disaster risk reduction strategies.
- Political commitments to safe schools at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction
History and Background
The Children's Charter for Disaster Risk Reduction was launched at the Third Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (May 2011, Geneva) and was developed based on interviews with 600 children in 19 countries.
The number one priority for children that emerged from the interviews: "schools must be safe and education must not be interrupted."
The Chair’s Summary of the Second Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (June 2009, Geneva) called all Governments to undertake national assessments of existing education and health facilities by 2011 and to develop and implement national action plans for safer schools and hospitals in all disaster-prone countries by 2015.
In May 2013, the High-Level Dialogue Communiqué of the Fourth Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (May 2013, Geneva) requested that “a global safe schools and safe health infrastructures campaign be initiated in disaster prone areas with voluntary funding and commitments to be announced at the World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction in 2015”.
A set of tools were developed by the UNISDR Thematic Platform on Knowledge and Education to support Governments in developing a holistic approach to school safety. Those will be used as required in a group of selected countries to support school safety implementation at the national and local levels. They include:
How to take action?
Governments interested to become Safe School Leaders in the context of the Worldwide Initiative for Safe Schools are invited to contact Christel Rose, UNISDR Geneva (rosec(at)un.org, Tel: +41 22 917 8355)
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