Dakar Follow-up Bulletin No 31
Contents (11 September 2001)

For more information on the Second Meeting of the Working Group meeting in Paris: http://www.unesco.org/education/efa/global_co/working_group/index.shtml

Comprehensive EFA strategy tabled at the Working Group meeting

The rationale for developing a comprehensive EFA Strategy was the first item on the agenda on the second day of the Working Group meeting on Education for All. Mark Richmond of UNESCO said in his presentation that the way forward is through elaborating, in partnership, concrete responses that meet the needs of the EFA challenges.

The Strategy is a reference point that would help EFA partners see where they "fit into the EFA scheme of things", Richmond said, arguing that it should not be conceived as prescriptive in character. It is rather an "agreed indicative strategic framework" which should be concrete, goal-oriented, problem-oriented and time-bound and provide a clear view of where, how and when the EFA partners can best make their contributions.

Five requirements for a strategy

Five words sum up its key requirements - Drive, Coherence, Knowledge, Resources and Implementation.

Drive suggests that EFA must secure political will and national consensus and must not be externally driven.

Coherence intimates that EFA partners should not be at cross purposes but should work within a unified whole where differences of outlook should be reconciled.

Knowledge-building, knowledge-sharing and knowledge gaps should be addressed.

Resources, should be interpreted as human and institutional, not just financial; and linked to issues of governance, accountability and transparency, and

Implementation is about a shift from policy to practice, delivery modalities, and monitoring and accountability mechanisms.

"Advice and assistance from all partners are clearly needed in order to take this endeavour further," Richmond said.

Understanding on Global Initiative deepens

The importance of the Global Initiative to mobilize technical and financial resources is a critical part of the comprehensive strategy. Initial steps on developing this initiative started one year ago and is very much a work in progress, explained Lene Buchert in her presentation.

Extensive consultations at the working Group Meeting (November 2000) were followed by further discussions with multilateral and bilateral organizations, education ministers and high-level ministry personnel, expert groups, academics, civil society organizations, and to organizations such as OECD and the European Union.

"The paper is the consolidated thinking of partners," said Buchert.

In February/March 2001 (Meeting, Paris), a "common understanding" was reached on what could constitute a global initiative for EFA:

  • It rests on political will among governments and countries both North and South.

  • A partnership between national governments and international development partners;

  • More than a financial mechanism; a means of tackling poverty reduction, sustainable development and creating an enabling environment nationally, partly through human and institutional capacity-building;

  • "Resources" understood as financial, human and material.
  • Official Development Assistance (ODA) continues to be one of the EFA funding channels that must be stepped up. "ODA has increased somewhat since the financial crisis in Asia," Buchert said, although support for education in general, and basic education in particular, continues to represent a very low proportion.

    In an effort to push the Global Initiative, proposed measures include that:

  • donor countries make a greater effort to achieve the 0.7 per cent target of GNP for ODA.

  • they adopt the 20:20 Initiative;

  • both private funding and ODA be increased;

  • the effectiveness of aid be improved; and.

  • aid for the least developed countries be untied.
  • Responding to issues raised in the discussion, John Daniel, Assistant Director-General for Education, said that further consultation was needed and suggested the establishment of an inter-agency working group on this matter.

    The EFA Observatory fine tunes its strategy

    Presenting the work of the EFA Observatory, Alison Kennedy of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) described the Institute's efforts to fine tune its approach to monitoring EFA goals, and particularly its Survey 2000 to obtain data in UNESCO's fields of competence, launched immediately after Dakar.

    What set Survey 2000 apart, she said, is that it was introduced through a series of regional workshops bringing together statisticians and education planners mainly from education ministries. A second round of workshops was held for Survey 2001.

    UIS has also consulted workshop participants and convened an expert group (Paris, 25-26 June 2001) on developing new indicators for EFA. The recommendations arising from the consultation process so far include developing:

  • An EFA data set as opposed simply to a list of indicators;

  • A set of indicators (similar to the original 18 EFA 2000 Assessment) with some additions or refinements

  • Gender-disaggregated indicators;

  • Focus on core data up to 2005 in countries with the weakest capacity statistically

  • New indicators to be piloted in countries with greater statistical capacity.
  • UIS has also taken preliminary steps to include data on educational finance, early childhood development and non-formal education, said Kennedy.

    First sketch of monitoring report on EFA progress

    A monitoring report would be presented yearly to the high-level group on EFA, the Dakar Framework for Action stated, adding that it would serve as a lever for political commitment and technical and financial resource mobilization.

    The first meeting of this group, convened by UNESCO Director-General, Koïchiro Matsuura, will take place from 29-30 October 2001 at UNESCO's headquarters in Paris.

    Building on contributions from all major stakeholders, the report will examine the advances made towards EFA since the World Education Forum and identify the major challenges ahead.

    A draft outline was presented and the following points raised. The report should

  • attempt to identify strategic actions and opportunities in the coming years;

  • place education in the wider context of development and anti-poverty strategies and demonstrate the links between EFA goals and other development commitments and international gatherings such as the G8 and the Millennium Summit;

  • be made available on the Internet (report and background documents).
  • It was suggested that an electronic version could be updated throughout the year.

    Several participants suggested that the outline of this year's report could provide a model for future reports to come. By keeping the same format, it would be easier to measure development and evaluate progress. It was also proposed that preparation on next year's report should take off immediately after the high-level group meeting to ensure a more participatory process. One suggestion was to ask countries for contributions.

    In the afternoon session participants broke up into four working groups to come up with concrete proposals on :

    a) formulation, assessment and funding of EFA plans;

    b) comprehensive strategy for EFA;

    c) monitoring report for the high-level group;

    d) a communiqué for the high-level group.

    All groups will report back to plenary tomorrow morning.

    Contacts: Anne Muller (a.muller@unesco.org) or Teresa Murtagh (t.murtagh@unesco.org)