UN Special Envoy for Global Education and Chair of the Education Commission, Gordon Brown, has welcomed this announcement. He said:

“This is the first stage of a new system of systematic support on a continuous basis for humanitarian aid to education in emergencies. There are 30 million displaced children around the world who need this support and the European Union has led the way in pioneering new forms of giving.”

Writing for the Education Commission, EU Commissioner Stylianides says that €52 million is to be made available to over 2 million children in 42 countries:

“As the European Union Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, education in emergency situations is my priority. For me, it is an effective tool to ensure the security, development and psychological well being of children. It provides them with hope where hope is most needed.  It is an investment in their countries’ long-term future.

Around the world, 37 million children are currently out of school in areas affected by different crises. In the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, the Zaatari Camp in Jordan, the Donetsk in Ukraine, Gaziantep in Turkey, and the Dadaab Camp, Kenya, I have met children of all ages.  All have been displaced by conflict and risk being deprived of the joys and rights of their childhood.  Those girls and boys do all they can to overcome the obstacles and dangers they face in order to receive an education. Children have the right to an education, even in emergency situations. We cannot let them down. We need to act because they count on our support.

Last year, I committed to increasing the EU humanitarian aid financing for Education in Emergencies budget from 1% to 4%. I am pleased to announce today that we will not only fulfill – but we will also surpass – our commitment to quadruple our support to this area, from €11 million in 2015 to €52 million this year.

With this €52 million package, we will reach over 2,300,000 children in 42 countries. This will be done through educational projects in regions where children are at higher risk of being left out of school or having their education disrupted. We will be focusing our efforts on the Middle East, especially Syria and Iraq, East, Central and West Africa, Asia; Ukraine, Central America and Colombia.

With this contribution of €52 million, we will support access to education, development of life skills and vocational training and much-needed psychosocial support, among others.

As the EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid, I am truly committed to this cause and will continue to be for as long as it takes to make a very real difference.”

Christos Stylianides is the European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management