This year’s EFA Global Monitoring Report provides a timely reminder of the history, the ideas and the values on which the United Nations is built. Those values are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. They are also reflected in the Education for All goals adopted by the international community in 2000. Unfortunately, we are still a great distance from the world envisaged by the architects of the Universal Declaration – and from our shared goals in education. And we are collectively failing to confront the immense challenges posed by armed conflict.

As this new edition of the EFA Global Monitoring Report makes clear, conflict continues to blight the lives of millions of the world’s most vulnerable people. Warfare is also destroying opportunities for education on a scale that is insufficiently recognized. The facts are telling. Over 40% of out-of-school children live in conflict-affected countries. These same countries have some of the largest gender inequalities and lowest literacy levels in the world. I hope that, by turning the spotlight on what has until now been a ‘hidden crisis’ in education, the Report will help galvanize national and international action in four key areas.