|Global Co-ordination > Working Group on Education for All >|
|First meeting / Document 5|
Summary of Status prepared for Working Group on EFA
education is a fundamental human right and an essential element
of sustainable human development. The Jomtien Declaration (1990),
the Amman Affirmation (1996) and Dakar Framework (2000) all
stressed the importance of girls' education in achieving Education
for All. Education as a right and girls' education as a development
necessity are generally acknowledged, yet at the start of the
21st century almost two thirds of the more than 110 million
children out of school are girls. The education goals will not
be achieved unless affirmative action is taken in support of
girls' education, and the international poverty reduction goals
will not be reached without concerted effort to eliminate discrimination
against women and girls and to achieve gender equality.
an effort to build on the progress achieved through and to
provide a substantive focus to UN Reform, the Senior Management
Group (SMG), chaired by the Secretary General, agreed in May
1999, to launch a system-wide programme on girls' education
in support of EFA. This Initiative is envisaged as an integral
and essential element in the global effort to reduce poverty.
It was decided to base it in UNDG with UNICEF taking the lead.
of the Initiative
of the United Nations 10-Year Girls' Education Initiative (UNGEI)
is to mount a sustained campaign to improve the quality and
availability of girls' education through a collaborative partnership
of different entities within and outside of the UN system.
objective of this programme is the elimination of gender discrimination
and gender disparity in education systems (defined broadly to
include policy and practice in conventional and nonformal approaches
to education involving a wide range of partners) through action
at national, district, and community levels. While this Initiative
will emphasise primary education and its equivalents, and be
closely tied to the global EFA movement and education goals
of other world conferences, it also supports the transition
to secondary education, secondary education itself, and other
aspects of education that facilitate girls' learning. The emphasis
on gender issues and systemic approaches are consistent with
the development of quality education systems for all children.
goal and strategy are translated into five strategic objectives
designed to assist countries in meeting their Education for
All goals and targets, as well as the education goals of other
UN international conferences. The objectives call for:
Submitted by Mary Joy Pigozzi
United Nations Girls' Education Initiative Task Force
political and resource commitments,
the gender gap,
gender bias and discrimination within education systems,
girls' education in crisis, conflict and post-conflict situations,
ingrained gender bias that limits the demand for girls'
calls for strategic action on girls' education in a collaborative
and concerted effort that builds on known mechanisms and established
practices. Specific actions will bring to bear different organisational
strengths and experiences through a variety of partnerships
and operational forms. Programme flexibility will allow for
the possibility to seize opportunities for progress.
is open to all agencies and organisations, including NGOs, that
work in the area of girls' education. Participation in the Initiative
is based on willingness, and ability to contribute to and/or
build on existing activities.
Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan launched the UNGEI at the
opening of the World Education Forum (WEF) in Dakar, Senegal
on 26 April 2000. His speech, which focussed very heavily on
girls' education, was well received and set the stage for an
unprecedented emphasis on girls' education in an international
DGO and with UNICEF serving as the lead, a multi-entity Task
Force was set up to "manage" the Initiative. Any interested
UN partner was invited to participate starting with the UNDG,
UNESCO, and the World Bank. This group has agreed upon a work
plan for the year, which is currently being implemented.
Force has developed a Concept Paper and an accompanying Action
Plan. The Concept Paper was fully endorsed by the SMG in September
1999, by the ACC subsidiary machinery in February 2000, and
later by ECOSOC. As a result, the Initiative is now endorsed
by the entire UN system, including the World Bank, and will
be implemented through collaborative and concerted efforts that
build on known mechanisms and established practices.
Paper outlines the rationale, objectives and strategy for a
common UN system approach to enhance the system's efforts towards
improving the quality and availability of girls' education in
developing countries. The Girls' Education Initiative is not
intended to lead to the introduction of new elaborate mechanisms
or instruments but rather aims to encourage and facilitate strategic
action on girls' education.
Task Force subsequently developed an overall Action Plan. The
Action Plan identifies five strategic objectives (see Description
of the Initiative) which cover the main areas where past interventions
have shown to be successful in terms of girls' education and
the long-term integration of girls and women into society as
equals with their male counterparts.
with the Dakar WEF, the Task Force has completed the following
Session on Girls' Education at the WEF, Dakar, April 2000
Session on Girls' Education at the Beijing +5 NGO Conference,
identification. While countries must identify themselves,
the UN and its partners can play a catalytic role.
building. The UNGEI is a partnership that is committed to
building and strengthening partnerships.
mapping exercise of existing UN-supported activities by
country has been completed.
criteria have been articulated.
Support to UN reform processes. In order to integrate girls' education
as substantive content within CCA and UNDAF, special efforts
have been undertaken with the Turin Staff Development Centre
to include the topic in CCA/UNDAF facilitator training.
to countries. A few countries have been aggressive in self-identification.
is the first to have officially launched the Initiative
- a national workshop was held by the Minister of Education
on 24 October.
for the UN system to operationalise the Initiative at the
country level are being finalised.
links to ongoing activities such as UNSIA and HIPC.
have been held with multilateral partners not based in the
US (UNESCO, WHO, ILO, UNAIDS, and UNHCR).
Assembly. Two key actions were part of this important event.
Task Force provided input into the SG's Millennium Assembly
Report, ensuring education, especially girls' education,
had a prominent place.
organised a Forum on Girls' Education for the First Spouses.
strategy. It has been decided that a two-prong strategy is
necessary - external and within the UN system. This has yet
to be developed. The UN system part was identified as the
consultation on education in emergencies. The UNGEI and its
fourth objective had a key place in this November 2000 meeting.
entities are in the process of addressing the following:
workplans in support of UNGEI
for funding indicators
and their roles in girls' education
of bilaterals and other partners
inclusion of other countries
the High Level Group can support UNGEI
is requested of the High Level Group:
for girls' education as essential to achieving EFA
for training, materials, and country support
to mainstreaming gender issues