Right Here, Right Now: Education Cannot Wait Issues US$150 Million Appeal to Scale Up Work in Response to the Climate Crisis

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Additional funding will reach 2 million children and adolescents on the frontline of the climate crisis who urgently need education support.

New York

Education Cannot Wait (ECW) issued today an urgent appeal for US$150 million in new funding to respond to the climate crisis.

Released in advance of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) in Dubai, the new appeal underscores the urgent need to connect education action with climate action. New ECW data indicates that 62 million children and adolescents affected by climate shocks are in desperate need of education support since 2020.

“The climate crisis is robbing millions of vulnerable girls and boys of their right to learn, their right to play and their right to feel safe and secure. In the eye of the storm, we urge new and existing public and private sector donors to stand with them. We appeal to you to act right here, right now to address the climate and education crisis,” said The Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education and Chair of the ECW High-Level Steering Group.

The climate crisis threatens the rights of every person on the planet, but for children impacted by armed conflict, forced displacement and other protracted crises, the needs are even more dire. There are 224 million crisis-affected children worldwide who urgently need education support. About one third – 62 million – have been impacted by climate hazards such as droughts, floods, cyclones and other extreme weather events since 2020.

“The very future of humanity is at stake. Rising seas, spiking temperatures and ever-more-severe droughts, floods and natural hazards are derailing development gains and ripping our world apart. As we’ve seen with the floods in Pakistan, and the drought in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel, climate change is triggering concerning jumps in forced displacement, violence, food insecurity and economic uncertainty the world over,” said Yasmine Sherif, Executive Director of Education Cannot Wait.

“Education is an essential component in delivering on the promises and commitments outlined in the Paris Agreement, Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and Sustainable Development Goals. As all eyes turn toward this year’s Climate Talks (COP28) and the Global Refugee Forum, world leaders must connect climate action with education action,” said Sherif.

By 2050, climate impacts could cost the world economy US$7.9 trillion and could force up to 216 million people to move within their own countries, according to the World Bank. This poses a real and present threat to global security, economic prosperity and efforts to address the life-threatening impacts of the climate crisis.

Climate change is not gender neutral. Women and girls are disproportionally affected due to preexisting gender norms. Climate change exacerbates risks of gender-based violence, school dropout, food insecurity and child marriage.

The new appeal outlines a strategic value proposition that connects donors, the private sector, governments and other key stakeholders to create a coordinated approach to scale-up education funding in response to the climate crisis. The new funding aims to ensure learning continuity by providing mental health and psychosocial support, school rehabilitation and resilience, child protection, gender-based violence prevention and risk mitigation, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), disaster risk reduction, and anticipatory and early action measures.

ECW has championed the right to education for children affected by the global climate crisis. In the aftermath of devastating floods in Libya, Mozambique and Pakistan – and spikes in hunger, forced displacement and violence across the Horn of Africa and the Sahel – ECW has issued emergency grants to get children and adolescents back to the safety and opportunity that quality education provides.

Within existing programmes in crisis-impacted countries like Bangladesh, Chad, Nigeria, South Sudan and Syria, ECW investments are supporting climate-resilient infrastructure, disaster risk reduction and school meals, offering hope and opportunity in the most challenging circumstances.

Education Cannot Wait (ECW) is the global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises, hosted by UNICEF. We support quality education outcomes for refugee, internally displaced and other crisis-affected girls and boys, so no one is left behind. ECW works through the multilateral system to both increase the speed of responses in crises and connect immediate relief and longer-term interventions through multi-year programming. ECW works in close partnership with governments, public and private donors, UN agencies, civil society organizations, and other humanitarian and development aid actors to increase efficiencies and end siloed responses. ECW urgently appeals to public and private sector donors for expanded support to reach even more vulnerable children and youth.

On X/Twitter, please follow: @EduCannotWait    @YasmineSherif1    @KentPage

Additional information available at: www.educationcannotwait.org
For press inquiries:
Anouk Desgroseilliers, adesgroseilliers@un-ecw.org, +1-917-640-6820
Kent Page, kpage@unicef.org, +1-917-302-1735
For other inquiries: info@un-ecw.org

For Press Inquiries:

Anouk Desgroseilliers:

Kent Page: