Nigeria will be holding the fourth international conference on the Safe Schools Declaration between October 25 and 27, 2021.
The Conference, the first in Africa with theme: “Ensuring Safe Education for All: From Commitment to Practice” is a hybrid event with participants attending in person at the ECOWAS Secretariat in Abuja, as well as attending virtually.
Addressing a briefing on preparation towards the event on Thursday in Abuja, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama said Nigeria is ready to host the rest of the world during this iconic event.
A statement issued on the event read that the event is to be hosted by Nigeria, together with the Governments of Argentina, Norway, Spain and the Global Coalition of Protect Education from Attack.
The statement read that: “The Abuja conference is a biennial conference with the overarching aim of taking stock and reviewing progress in implementation of the Safe Schools Declaration (SSD) and the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict, as well as encouraging commitment and action in protecting education from attack.
“The conference is a forum for states, and multilateral and civil society organisations, to enhance experiences and learning, and to present their strategies, progress, as well as challenges, in making the promise of safe education into a reality. The conference is also an opportunity for states to hold each other to account for advancing their commitment to implement the SSD.”
The statement further said that the SSD has now been embraced by well over half of all UN member states and the central theme of the Abuja conference will be identifying good practice in implementing key commitments in the Safe Schools Declaration and highlighting how this good practice can be strengthened and adapted to different contexts.
The aim is to move beyond endorsement and expression of commitment to encourage states to accelerate implementation of the SSD.
According to the statement, the overarching objective of the Abuja conference is to strengthen implementation of the SSD by achieving the specifics objectives, which include:
“Share good practice in implementing key commitments in the Declaration to inspire other states to adapt the practice within their own context.”
Also: “Forge global cooperation and strengthen coordination in protecting education and deterring military use of schools and universities by bringing together education, defence, and foreign affairs ministries, and multilateral and civil society organisations, to discuss prevention and response measures.
“Identifying actions governments can take to better achieve accountability for attacks on education and justice for survivors, by building and strengthening international and national legal mechanisms.”
The statement said due to COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Abuja conference, will be a hybrid event with in-person and virtual components to accommodate all participants with the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) responsible for adherence to COVID-19 safety protocols.