This second meeting of the EFA Working Group took place
at a particularly crucial time. As the Director-General
of UNESCO pointed out in his opening speech, the reforms
of UNESCO structures are largely completed with EFA at the
centre of our concerns and activities. In addition, this
session prepared for the first meeting of the high-level
group foreseen in the Dakar Framework for Action. The Working
Group was therefore marked by a sense of urgency and expectation;
if such meetings are to reach their full potential, they
must not only maintain, but indeed reinforce the impetus
of Dakar through our joint efforts.
During the Working
Group we gave our attention to progress achieved since the
last meeting ten months ago in November 2000, as well as
looking forward to the meeting of the high-level group,
29 and 30 October 2001. We therefore looked at four topics:
- Progress towards EFA
plans: at regional, subregional and national levels,
and in a variety of geographical and institutional contexts
- Development of a comprehensive
strategy for EFA: what needs to be done at international
level to best ensure progress at regional and national
- Nature and structure
of the EFA Monitoring Report: how can this become a
well-designed instrument to inspire and challenge us?
- Nature and content of
the communiqué to be issued by the high-level
group: how to express realistically and creatively what
progress has been achieved and what urgent demands remain
to be met?
give this report its structure.
How did this
meeting leave us feeling as professionals in EFA? We became
aware again how education connects seamlessly with the rest
of life, so that plans can never stay only inside an educational
box. We realized that the outer edges of the EFA field of
action - the unreached, countries in crisis, for instance
- will require yet greater efforts proportionately than
hitherto. We recognized that some issues - disability and
teachers/quality education, to name just two - must move
higher up our list of priorities.
We sensed other issues increasing their claim on our attention,
such as governance, links with local level implementation,
the complexities of ICTs in the educational context, and
Above all, this
meeting, like the first, was about partnership - building
the kind of synergy where the whole is greater than the
sum of the parts, building the sort of relationships which
enable action based on trust and transparency, engaging
a wide range of entities: countries, civil society, bilateral
agencies, regional groupings and international organizations.
It is my firm conviction that the partnerships reinforced
in the Working Group will lead to more effective work. Strengthened
in our common resolve and commitment, we will spare no effort
to meet the goal of Education for All.
Assistant Director-General for Education