of Communiqué from High-Level Group (in English and
High-Level Group on EFA
demands redoubling of efforts
The first meeting of the
High-Level Group on EFA ended today in Paris by adopting
a Communiqué requesting all EFA partners to redouble
their efforts to meet the goals of Education for All.
The Communiqué calls for greater co-ordination
of efforts, partnerships with civil society and increased
and more efficient funding of basic education.
The Group comprising twenty-nine
Ministers of Education and of International Co-operation,
heads of development agencies and civil society representatives,
agreed on setting up a Task Force to develop a strategy
to operationalize the Dakar Framework before March 2002.
The strategy should, inter alia, identify major actions
to be taken with specified time-lines, general roles and
responsibilities of partners and a consensus on a global
initiative for resource mobilization that should be implemented
with immediate effect. Led by UNESCO, the Task Force will
bring together some fifteen representatives of all EFA
The Communiqué also
proposes a series of immediate actions to be taken to
accelerate the EFA process at country level.
1. Countries must accelerate
progress towards sector plans which encompass all EFA
goals. These plans must be in place by 2002.
2. Building on existing
structures, partners at the country level must develop
criteria and mechanisms for reviewing and mobilizing resources
for the EFA plans. Where countries are unable to fund
their action plans, the World Bank should take the lead
in identifying and filling the resource gaps. In situations
where the World Bank cannot do so, the United Nations
and other partners should find ways to fill these gaps.
The Communiqué also
calls for an authoritative and analytical annual EFA monitoring
report drawing upon national data and assessing the extent
to which countries and the international community are
meeting their Dakar commitments.
Finally, the Communiqué
proposes that UNESCO build on the experiences of the first
High-Level Group meeting to ensure a more focused discussion
in future meetings.
Highlights of the discussion
on the second day of the High-Level Group
The debate focused on:
- Resource mobilization
- The G8 Task Force on Education
- A role for civil society
To implement the Dakar
pledge that no countries seriously committed to Education
for All would want for lack of funding, two critical questions
need to be answered, said Clare Short, Secretary of State
for International Development Co-operation (DFID), United
Kingdom. When is it clear that a country is seriously
committed and how will the international community
fulfil its pledge? We need to clarify what developing
countries need to do to show a serious commitment to Education
for All, she said. She suggested the following criteria:
- Strong political will
showing commitment to universal primary education and
eliminating gender disparities;
- Sound national policies closely linked to poverty reduction
strategies. Separate EFA plans, outside poverty reduction
schemes or in addition to existing education sector plans,
should not be developed.
- Rapid abolition of user fees and other cost barriers
- The level of national allocations to basic education;
- Efforts to promote gender equality. This includes training
teachers to greater awareness of gender issues and the
creation of safe school environments, etc.
If countries are found to be seriously committed, agencies
must respond appropriately, Ms Short said, adding that
development agencies as a whole are still not giving
basic education the resources it needs.
Jo Ritzen, Vice-president,
Human Development Network of the World Bank referred to
need to reconcile two inter-connected challenges. The
need to fill the financing gap and the policy gap. The
financing gap, he explained, was the difference between
the resources countries themselves can mobilize and the
amount they will need to meet the Dakar goals. Current
estimates, generally based on existing unit costs and
financial structures were, he said, unsatisfactory because
they assume for the most part that EFA can be achieved
by doing what is already being done, only more of it.
Yet EFA entails reaching out to ever more marginalized
populations, and children with disability and addressing
issues such as repetition and drop out, he said.
EFA will not be achieved
therefore without a dramatic shift in country policies.
The effort to bridge the financing gap must be matched
by a commitment by countries to fill the policy gap. Without
bridging one we will not be able to bridge the other,
said Mr Ritzen, adding, "we will support you as you
work through these change processes country by country.
A new estimate of the EFA
financing gap, based on a country-by-country analysis,
will be developed prior to the spring meetings of the
World Bank and the Development Committee, said Mr Ritzen.
Mr Takao Kawakami, President
of Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) announced
that Japan intends to allocate roughly $750 million to
education, health, medical services and water in Africa
over the next five years. During this period, Japan will
also spent a total of $3 billion in measures against infectious
diseases including HIV/AIDS and, starting next year, will
send youth volunteers to work with African communities
on disseminating information on HIV/AIDS.
Mr Kawakami also referred
to Japans comprehensive package - to the tune of
$15 billion over five years - to bridge the digital divide.
The French Co-operation
Minister, Charles Josselin, reaffirmed the commitment
of France to assist Education for All efforts nationally
and internationally but warned that "additional resources
should not be invested in education system showing no
efficiency". "Basic education must be elaborated
within an overall sectoral strategic framework and ownership
and partnerships are keywords for developing sound EFA
action plans," he said.
Mr Josselin announced that
France will give debt relief of some 10 billion Euros
(roughly $8,7 billion) under the Heavily Indebted Poor
Country Initiative (HIPC) to benefit the social sector,
in particular education. France is also reorienting its
development aid to top up countries' capacities in evaluation,
analysis and decentralization. France is also recruiting,
Mr Josselin said, 350 technical assistants to assist developing
countries and has created a French education fund of 3,5
million France ($467,000) within UNESCO to assist committed
countries in developing their EFA action plans.
In the ensuing debate,
the President of Education International, Mary Hatwood
Futrell asked how, when and under whose leadership the
international community will help countries fund national
EFA plans of action. "Some countries have developed
sound plans and need money now to start implementing them,"
she said. Tanzania urgently needs some $93 million per
year for EFA, she said. She urged that greater investment
in education should make a difference in the classroom
rather than to bureaucracies. Clare Short of the United
Kingdom replied that a Global Fund sounds good but it's
not the way forward. "We want to create a sustainable
system, building on a reform process," she said.
The "urgent task" is to operationalize the goals,"
said Jean-Claude Faure, chairman of the Development Assistance
Committee of the OECD. "We need to be able to measure
the flow of aid," he said, adding that mutual accountability
is essential for countries and donors.
The Minister of Education
of Senegal, Moustapha Sourang, welcomed the donor promise
to finance national EFA action plans. "It is the
first time since the 1980s that we see such concrete commitments,"
he said. "It will give us a huge boost although we
know that we cannot rely on external finances alone".
The G8 Task Force on Education
Director-General for Italian Development Co-operation
and Chair of the G8 Task Force on Education outlined the
purpose of the Task Force, set up by the G8 meeting in
Genoa. It will:
- facilitate co-ordination between governments and donors,
- mobilize the resources, and
- respond to clearly identified needs and monitor advances
towards the Dakar commitments.
Other operational proposals,
he said, could consist of systematically including basic
education in development assistance programme; promoting
the training of planners, catalysing civil society participation
and promoting innovative ways to transfer know-how from
the private sector. He cited as an example a worldwide
campaign for businesses to promote training programmes
in developing countries within the framework of national
This Task Force will hold
its first meeting tomorrow (31 October).
A role for civil society
After drawing attention
to the role of civil society in EFA internationally, nationally
and locally, OXFAM Director Barbara Stocking sketched
her vision of the Global Initiative. It is based on sound
national plans, a global ledger in the form
of an annual report tracking progress and a financing
UNESCO, the World Bank
and other partners should work together on the financing
gap to produce a global picture, she said. She stressed
the urgency of having such a global assessment by spring
to allow for discussions on it at the UN Special Session
and at the upcoming G8 meeting in Canada.
For Kailash Satyarthi,
Chairperson of the Global March Against Child Labour,
the right to education must be non-negotiable. We
treat education as a welfare measure, not a right,
he said, before going on to emphasize a number of preconditions
to make education a right: ownership by the common people;
genuine participation of all stakeholders at all levels,
national and international funding and monitoring of these
funds; co-ordination between ministries involved (education,
finance, labour, gender, social welfare, etc.), commitment
and action to eliminate child labour, etc. Making education
a right should be dealt with in a legal framework, said
The next meeting of the
Group will take place next autumn.
more information on the two-day High-Level Group meeting