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Education is a human right

"Education is a fundamental human right; it is also essential to ensure inclusive, equitable and sustainable development", said His Royal Highness The Crown Prince in his remarks at UNESCO today.


The 38th session of the UNESCO General Conference was opened today. In the course of the next 14 days, 195 member states will reach agreement on guidelines and priorities for the next two years. Crown Prince Haakon took the podium in Paris today.

Just as relevant today

The United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was established 70 years ago in the wake of the Second World War. Its mandate was to contribute to peace and security by promoting cooperation among nations in the areas of education, science, culture and communication.

“UNESCO’s role and mandate is as important today as it was 70 years ago,” said the Crown Prince this morning. “Education, science, culture, communication and information are all essential in a world where people are increasingly interconnected and dependent on each other.”

UNESCO’s efforts on behalf of education are of fundamental importance.

Education is a human right

More than 120 children and young people do not go to school. Poverty, natural disaster and war rob millions of individuals of the opportunity to build a future for themselves and their families that education provides. The Crown Prince pointed out the need to safeguard access to education in times of crisis:

“Hardest hit are the many victims of war, natural disasters and epidemics. Increased efforts are needed to prevent military attacks on schools and universities. More support is necessary to ensure quality education in emergencies and protracted crises.

Education is a fundamental human right; it is also essential for ensuring inclusive, equitable and sustainable development. Quality education provides people with the skills, knowledge and values they need to tackle the various challenges they are likely to face in society.”

Safe schools

In a side event dedicated to the protection of education during armed conflict, Crown Prince Haakon emphasised the importance of ensuring that schools are kept safe. In Syria alone, there have been more than 4 000 attacks on schools in the past four years.

Norway has been one of the driving forces behind the Safe Schools Declaration, which was presented at a conference in Norway earlier this year. Thus far, 50 countries have endorsed the declaration, which also includes practical guidelines for mitigating the impact of armed conflict on schools and universities, pupils and students.

“Nowhere is the need to strengthen education more urgent than in situations of armed conflict. Norway remains committed to working towards safe schools for all, and we look forward to continued cooperation with UNESCO and many of our partners present here today,” said the Crown Prince, rounding off his remarks at the event.


Crown Prince Haakon has also attended meetings at UNESCO today to mark Norway’s support for initiatives to prevent the destruction of cultural heritage and cultural monuments. Destruction of this type goes much deeper than demolishing buildings. It is an attempt to obliterate people’s sense of belonging to their country and their culture. At the same time, illegal trade in cultural artefacts is a major source of income for terrorist organisations. UNESCO is actively involved in efforts to stop these activities. One measure is the #Unite4Heritage campaign, which uses social media to engage young people in the fight to protect world heritage.

In his remarks, the Crown Prince highlighted UNESCO’s initiatives to safeguard cultural heritage and culture diversity, and drew special attention to the #Unite4Heritage campaign:

“Through initiatives such as the #Unite4Heritage campaign, launched in Baghdad earlier this year, violent extremism and thefts will be defeated with both specific countermeasures and a joint universal message of tolerance and dialogue.”

This afternoon Crown Prince Haakon will attend a meeting on follow-up of the Sustainable Development Goal on education, in addition to visiting Lycée Diderot and attending an event to promote Norwegian food in France.


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