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Final Report of the Second Meeting, 2001


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 levels?

  • 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?

These topics 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 many more.

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.

John Daniel
Assistant Director-General for Education