Deputy Permanent Representative of Permanent Mission of Argentina to the UN, Minister Gabriela Martinic,
Dear colleagues and friends,
It is an honor for Argentina to partner once again with Norway, and with the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack, in order to promote the Safe Schools Declaration and to bring to you updated information on the recent developments in this field, in particular, in relation with the outcomes of the Second International Conference on Safe Schools that took place from 28 to 29 March 2017 in Buenos Aires.
Since the beginning of the consultations in Geneva in early 2015 that lead to the adoption of the Declaration, Argentina has been an active and strong supporter of this initiative in the understanding that education is fundamental to development and to the full enjoyment of human rights and freedoms, and that continued access to safe education can help protect children and youth from the impacts of armed conflict.
We are glad to see that 63 countries have already endorsed the Declaration and we hope to work with you and your respective capitals to increase the amount of endorsements.
But, please, let me know focus in the Second Conference that took place last month in Buenos Aires where delegations from 80 States, the United Nations system, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA), other civil society organizations, and academic institutions, participated.
During the Conference, the participants had the chance to review governmental efforts to protect education from attack, taking stock of the implementation of the commitments contained in the Safe Schools Declaration and to share examples of good practice at national and international levels, discussing opportunities for future cooperation in the implementation of the Declaration.
It also contributed to a deeper understanding of the need for greater protection of children, students, teachers and educational facilities during armed conflict, building upon the outcomes of the first international conference in Oslo.
Participants at the conference in Buenos Aires expressed deep concern over continued attacks on, and military use of, educational facilities, which put children, students, and teachers at risk of harm and disrupt the provision of education in armed conflict. States reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen the protection of education from attack to enable the safe continued education of children and youth, no matter where in the world they live, and to protect educational facilities from military use.
During the Conference, substantive discussions and key conclusions were reached in the following fields: preventing attacks on education; protecting schools and universities from military use; working with non-state armed actors for the protection of the education from attack; monitoring and reporting on attacks on education; seeking accountability for attacks on education; conflict-sensitive education policy, and continuing education during armed conflict; and cooperation and international assistance to support the prevention of attacks against education.
I want to highlight that at the Conference in Buenos Aires it was launched a toolkit to assist in the understanding and the implementation of the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use, comprising practical tools and guidance for militaries and non-state armed groups to protect educational facilities from attack and military use.
From our perspective, the Safe Schools Declaration adopted in Oslo is a point of convergence, exchange, and collaboration among States, international organizations and civil society actors that seek to share a common commitment to the protection of education during armed conflict.
To conclude, I would like to thank you for your presence today and encourage you to stay in touch with both our missions here in New York and with our colleagues from civil society in case you need more information.
We hope that the information provided today has been helpful and hopefully will contribute to help other States to join the Declaration.