from the Second Meeting of the High-Level Group on Education
19-20 November 2002
the participants in the second meeting of the High-Level Group
on Education for All, met, at the invitation of the Director-General
of UNESCO, during 19-20 November 2002 in Abuja, Nigeria. The
Government of Nigeria generously hosted the meeting. In fulfilment
of our mandate to promote political commitment and mobilize
technical and financial resources, we examined the progress
that is being made towards the achievement by 2005 and 2015
of six Education for All goals agreed upon at the World Education
Forum in Dakar in April 2000.
2. We welcomed
the EFA Global Monitoring Report 2002 (Education for All.
Is the world on track?) as a valuable tool to hold governments
and the international community to account for the delivery
on commitments set out in the Dakar Framework for Action and
the Millenium Development Goals. We find it alarming that,
on present trends, only 83 countries have achieved or have
a high chance of achieving by 2015 three of the six Dakar
goals that can currently be quantitatively monitored - Universal
Primary Education (enrolment and completion), gender equality
and adult literacy.
3. In view
of the urgency of the goal of eliminating gender disparities
in primary and secondary education by 2005, we urge that countries
at risk be assisted to accelerate progress on girls' education
and specifically address cultural barriers. Multi-sectoral
programmes and strategies must be implemented to combat forms
of exploitation and other constraints that adversely affect
female participation and performance in education. The production
of gender-disaggregated data for secondary education must
be given urgent and high priority to ensure monitoring at
impetus given by the World Education Forum to plan for the
achievement of Education for All in a comprehensive, inclusive,
gender responsive and outcome driven way must be sustained
and urgently translated into action. External prescription,
planning and reporting overload must be avoided and coordinated
support for national processes at the country level promoted.
In order to avoid parallel planning processes, we underline
the necessity to view planning for EFA flexibly and according
to the circumstances of individual countries. This may mean
either a specific plan for EFA or one that is integrated with
other education sector or wider development plans - with due
attention paid to all six Dakar goals. The opportunities afforded
by Poverty Reduction Strategies and the Fast-Track Initiative
to promote EFA and the education-related Millennium Development
Goals must be exploited.
plans must be set in the economic context of countries and
present a holistic approach to educational development that
addresses challenges such as HIV/AIDS, conflict, crisis and
transition to democracies. Country plans to address the HIV/AIDS
pandemic must enable the education sector to more strongly
prevent the further spread of HIV, as well as engage the entire
sector in addressing the impact of AIDS on the supply and
demand for quality education.
6. We are
seriously concerned by the reported decline in Official Development
Assistance for basic education during the 1990s. Despite recent
commitments from some countries, existing evidence suggests
a serious gap in international support to achieve the EFA
goals even after countries undertake maximum efforts to improve
domestic resource mobilization and efficiency. We urge the
international community to accelerate progress to deliver
on the commitments made at Dakar. These commitments have been
followed by the development compact agreed upon in Monterrey
which necessitates mutual accountability and responsibility
for global development between governments in the North and
the South. We welcome and support the Fast-Track Initiative
as one of the means to facilitate such compacts at the country
level, building on existing development processes and matching
credible plans with needed resources. The Initiative should
be complemented with alternative instruments to reach other
countries over time. International funding and technical assistance
agencies must develop strategies for assisting countries outside
the Fast-Track Initiative in their achievement of EFA. Country-led
coordination and harmonization of procedures and reporting
must be undertaken effectively with support from the international
funding and technical agencies.
actions are needed, especially at the local and national levels,
to broaden and intensify the involvement of civil society
(including the poor, religious/faith and business communities)
in the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation
of EFA. Timely information and outcomes must be shared openly
with committed civil society organizations. Funding and technical
assistance agencies and governments need to support capacity
building of civil society to enable it to participate effectively
in the EFA process. Policies and legislation recognizing the
important role of civil society should be elaborated. Indicators
for successful partnership need to be developed.
8. To improve
policy formation and monitoring of all six EFA goals, more
accurate and timely quantitative and qualitative data are
needed. This calls for intensive capacity building for the
collection and effective use of data for national policy and
planning processes at the local, national and international
levels. We welcome the announcement by the Government of Canada
of $5 million over five years for the UNESCO Institute of
Statistics and encourage other partners to intensify their
support for such capacity building efforts. We see the necessity
for building on the synergy between the six EFA goals and
the two education Millennium Development goals.
9. We resolve
to intensify our advocacy at global, regional and national
levels for increased political commitment and resources to
accelerate progress on EFA.
10. As next steps we
particularly recommend that:
(i) Governments in
the South must ensure that free and compulsory primary education
is a right reflected in national legislation and in practice.
National strategies to achieve the goals of Education for
All must receive its necessary share of government budgets
and benefit from all possible funding sources, including debt
(ii) Strong and committed
action is required by Governments to improve the status and
working conditions of teachers to address the anticipated
shortages signaled by the monitoring report. This anticipated
shortage is being exacerbated by the impact of HIV/AIDS, conflict
and emergencies. This action is particularly important as
young people are no longer attracted to the teaching profession
in some countries.
(iii) Regional and sub-regional
forums, starting with Regional Education Proyecto Regional
de Educación para America Latina y el Caribe (PRELAC)
(November 2002), Conferences of the Ministers of Education
of African Member States organized by UNESCO (MINEDAF) (December
2002), and regional initiatives, such as the New Partnership
for African Development (NEPAD) and Forum for African Women's
Educationalists (FAWE) that promote South-South collaboration
are important opportunities for mobilizing political commitment
and resources for EFA.
(iv) The meeting of funding
and technical assistance agencies in Brussels (November 2002)
offers an important opportunity for bilateral and multilateral
agencies to coordinate their commitment to deliver on the
promises made at Dakar and Monterrey.
(v) The G8 meeting in
Evian, France in 2003 presents a critical opportunity for
this influential body to continue and to accelerate the valuable
contribution made through its Task Force on Education.
(vi) An advocacy strategy
on EFA must be designed and coordinated by appropriate agencies,
to address specific areas of concern in different countries
and regions (for example girls' education by UNICEF and teachers'
conditions by UNESCO).
(vii) Every advantage
should be taken of the coming UN Decade for Literacy and the
proposed UN Decade for Education for Sustainable Development
to advance the EFA agenda.
(viii) Maximum use must
be made of opportunities presented by the High-Level Group,
the annual monitoring report, the annual EFA week and high-level
international events on development issues to underline the
importance of education for global development.
(ix) UNESCO should strengthen
urgently its capacity to fulfill its international coordination
(x) UNESCO and other key
EFA agencies must devise and implement a strategy to ensure
that subsequent High-Level Group meetings have higher-level
representation with stronger capability of mobilizing political
commitment for the EFA goals.
acknowledge that important advances have been made in many
countries that were not reflected in the data available to
the Monitoring Report Team. We encourage the Monitoring Report
Team to include case studies of good practice and successful
experiences in achieving the EFA goals and of providing free
education as part of the analysis of forthcoming reports.
Future reports should also contribute to clarifying the concepts
and indicators that would permit more effective monitoring
of the three goals of early childhood care and development,
adult literacy and learning needs of youth and adults through
welcome the invitation of the Government of India to host
the next meeting of the High-Level Group in November 2003.