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Speech by UNICEF Representative Lotta Sylwander at the signing of the MOU on Education in Emergencies

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Date: 1st June 2011
Event:
Signing of MOU on Education in Emergencies (EiE), between MOET, UNICEF and Save the Children
Venue:
Ha Noi, M inistry of Education and Training

Mr. Tran Quang Quy, Vice Minister, Ministry of Education and Training
Mr. Pham Sinh Huy, Country Representative, Save the Children in Viet Nam
Representatives of related departments of MOET, line ministries and other agencies,
Ladies and gentlemen,

First of all - Happy International Children’s Day! I am very pleased that TODAY, on children’s day, the Ministry of Education and Training, UNICEF and Save the Children confirm their commitment to ensure the children’s right to quality education during emergencies.

This is an important right of children to maintain as normal life as possible during crises. Going to school and sharing their feelings, experiences and loss with friends and teachers are integral parts of their coping mechanism.  Also, educational activities inform and prepare children for protecting themselves during and after natural disasters.

Today, we sign the Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET), UNICEF and Save the Children on Education in Emergencies in Viet Nam.

This document defines common understanding, roles, responsibilities and operating modalities between the organisations. The common goal is to strengthen disaster preparedness, response and recovery for Education in Emergencies by improving coordination, utilizing resources and strengthening the education sector’s capacity.

Development of this MOU was one of the agreements that the Education in Emergency coordination group endorsed last year after commencing a review study on education in emergency experiences in 2009.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Today, together with vice-minister Mir Quy and Save the Children’s country director Mr Huy, I am also pleased to present the report, Lessons Learned Study: Education in Emergency Response”.

This report not only reviews the Vietnam’s experience in emergencies in 2009, but also offers regional analysis based on the experiences in Indonesia, Samoa and the Philippines.

This report is a valuable reference material for further and stronger cooperation and coordination in education in emergencies in Viet Nam.

As we know, Viet Nam is highly prone to a variety of natural hazards, including floods, landslides, and typhoons. Statistically Viet Nam has 6 - 8 major storms and hurricanes per year. Due to climate change and environmental degradation, there is increased frequency and intensity of natural disasters. As a result the socio-economic disparities have grown and the vulnerability of poor has deepened.

Disasters have a strong impact on the education sector through damages to school infrastructure and classroom materials, as well as disruption to children’s formal learning cycles.  Moreover, natural disasters can limit hard-won educational achievements and set back Viet Nam’s progress towards achieving Education for All and the Millennium Development Goals.

I would like to thank Vice-minister Mr Quy for his strong leadership on education in emergencies. I would like to extend special thanks to the Students Affairs Department by MOET, and International Cooperation Department for organising this important event.

Also, I ‘d like to thank Mr. Pham from Save the Children for great cooperation, and all other international organization represented here today.

UNICEF stands committed to assisting the MOET to further work on education in emergency. In close collaboration with Save the Children we look forward to strengthening this partnership and fulfil of the right of the children for quality education, even in emergencies.

Thank you.