Tehran, 16 December 2014 - UN-Habitat and the State Organization of Schools Renovation, Development and Mobilization (SOSDRM) of the Islamic Republic of Iran have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together to improve the safety and security facilities in schools in Iran.

Dr. Morteza Raissi Dehkordi, the Deputy Minister of Education and Head of SOSRDM and Mr. Siamak Moghaddam, acting Chief of the UN-Habitat Tehran office, signed the agreement at a ceremony held at the SOSRDM conference hall.

The agreement provides a framework of cooperation between UN-Habitat and SOSRDM in the field of disaster risk reduction and management, research and capacity building, policy development, public awareness and information management, safety and security, assessment/retrofitting and rehabilitation of the existing education facilities. It paves the way for specific projects to be developed in the coming months.

Upgrades to schools and the “Safe Schools Initiative”

In 2003 the Iranian Parliament ratified a law on reconstruction and renovation of schools mandating SOSRDM to develop a plan on schools’ retrofitting. The preliminary studies were conducted from 2003 to 2006 while the implementation phase started in 2006 after the parliament allocated a budget equal to USD 4 billion. Thus far, SOSRDM has retrofitted or reconstructed over 52,000 classrooms throughout the country.

Under this agreement, UN-Habitat intends to also collaborate with SOSRDM and UNISDR on the “Safe Schools initiative”, which has already been implemented on a limited scale by SOSRDM.