29 October 2021

Between October 25-27th, the Fourth International Conference on the Safe Schools Declaration took place in Abuja, Nigeria.

The hybrid live and virtual conference was hosted by Nigeria in collaboration with Argentina, Norway, Spain, the African Union Commission, and the Global Coalition for Protecting Education under Attack (GCPEA), and it brought together high-level representatives from governments, international organizations, and civil society to promote global cooperation and strengthen coordination on implementing the Safe Schools Declaration.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Ensuring Safe Education for All: From Commitment to Practice”. In concrete, the Abuja Conference aimed to share good practice, encourage global cooperation and coordination, and identify actions governments can take to promote accountability for attacks on education. 

Currently, 112 States have signed the Safe Schools Declaration. This is major progress - by endorsing the Declaration, governments commit to a series of measures to ensure the continuation of education during armed conflict, and to prosecute those responsible for attacks, aid victims and survivors, and strengthen monitoring and reporting of attacks. 

Civil society can play a fundamental role in ensuring compliance with these commitments. Our guide to monitoring education under attack from a human rights perspective is a vital tool for civil society, and can assist in monitoring and reporting on the right to education in conflict settings. 

Similarly, the sister publication to this guide 'Education Under Attack: A guidance note for journalists and photographers’ can help journalists in their efforts to document the impact of conflict on education. 

Also during the conference, 300 children launched a Children’s Manifesto which calls on world leaders to protect schools from attack, and made a series of demands including requesting they deny armies access to schools, and ensuring paths to schools are free of mines and explosives.