News bulletin board of UNESCO's Education Sector
No. 1
 
 Welcome to the electronic news bulletin board of UNESCO's Education Sector, informing you about UNESCO's follow-up activities to the World Education Forum in Dakar (April 2000).
 

Contents (21 July 2000)

- UNESCO ACTION PLAN FOR DAKAR FOLLOW-UP IN PREPARATION

- FOLLOW-UP MECHANISMS TO THE DAKAR FORUM

- INTER-AGENCY PROGRAMMES TO BOOST EFFORTS IN KEY AREAS

- COUNTRY GUIDELINES ON EFA IN PREPARATION

- MISSION OF UNESCO'S ASSISTANT DIRECTOR-GENERAL FOR EDUCATION TO THE UNITED STATES

- EXTENSIVE CONSULTATIONS WITH EFA STAKEHOLDERS

- DISSEMINATION OF DAKAR FINAL DOCUMENTS

 
UNESCO ACTION PLAN FOR DAKAR FOLLOW-UP IN PREPARATION
 
  UNESCO is currently reorganizing itself to assume the leadership role in the Education for All, given to the Organization at the World Education Forum in Dakar. An inter-sectoral strategic group has been established to co-ordinate follow-up activities and to ensure that the Dakar Framework for Action is reflected in all UNESCO activities related to education.
 
  Now on the table is a draft Action Plan, outlining the concrete modalities of implementing the Framework for Action at global, regional and national levels.
 
  Drawing on the lessons of the past, the draft Action Plan stresses the importance of:
 

a. ensuring that the developing countries play the role of prime movers in the implementation of the Dakar Framework for Action and that they be therefore better represented in the overall direction of the process.

b. establishing positive relations with all the bilateral agencies that manifested their willingness to actively support the various programmes and projects aimed at advancing towards the objective of a quality education for all.

c. enlarging the field of co-operation at the international level, involving in the follow-up to the Forum not only UNESCO's four official partners in the Education for All movement - UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF and the World Bank - but also other multilateral agencies such as ILO, FAO and WHO without whose support the Organization will not be able to meet the challenge made to it at Dakar.

d. ensuring the closer association of the ensemble of UNESCO's Member States with the Forum's follow-up; discussions were initiated to this end with the fifty-eight countries composing UNESCO's Executive Board which met in May.

e. redefining its relations with the community of NGOs, which should provide representatives reflecting the community's diversity and which should equally have a closer association in the future with the follow-up to the Dakar Forum.

 
  The draft Action Plan is currently being discussed internally in UNESCO. A revised draft will be circulated to EFA partners in a near future.
 
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NEW FOLLOW-UP MECHANISMS TO THE DAKAR FORUM
 
  In line with the Dakar Framework for Action, the Director-General of UNESCO, Ko´chiro Matsuura, has decided to establish two bodies to serve as levers for political commitment, and for technical and financial resource mobilization.
 
  Mr Matsuura will convene a high-level informal group of some twenty to twenty-five individuals, including representatives of developing countries, of donor countries and of multilateral aid agencies. The objective of the group will be to sustain and accelerate the political momentum created at Dakar. Its first meeting will take place before the first anniversary of the Dakar Forum.
 
  A working group on Education for All, more technical in nature, will be responsible for discussing and supervising the implementation of the Dakar follow-up activities and will assist UNESCO in co-ordinating the diverse inter-agency initiatives related to EFA. It will be a forum for exchange rather than a decision-making body. This group will comprise some thirty representatives of developing countries, and bilateral and multilateral agencies, as well as representatives of civil society, the OECD and the G-8. It will be chaired by the Assistant Director-General for Education of UNESCO and will hold its first meeting in November 2000.
 
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INTER-AGENCY PROGRAMMES TO BOOST EFFORTS IN KEY AREAS
 
UNESCO supports in the draft Action Plan the development or consolidation of major inter-agency flagship programmes that respond to objectives set in Dakar. They include:
 

the inter-agency initiative FRESH (Focusing Resources for Effective School Health);

the inter-agency initiative on the theme AIDS and education;

the inter-agency initiative devoted to early childhood development;

the initiative in favour of literacy, which falls within the framework of the proposed United Nations Decade for Literacy;

the United Nations initiative in favour of the education of girls and women;

the initiative on education in emergency situations.

 
The flagship programmes will have to be rethought in the light of the Dakar Framework for Action. The draft Action Plan points out that "it is essential to invite the agencies that assure the leadership to consolidate these initiatives, UNESCO's action here being essentially that of ensuring their synergy".
 
UNESCO is currently considering the launching of other potential flagship programmes such as 'education and the new technologies'.
 
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COUNTRY GUIDELINES ON EFA UNDER PREPARATION
 
UNESCO has prepared a first draft of Country Guidelines, which will be instrumental in preparing national EFA plans of action. This draft points out that the Dakar Framework for Action calls for massive efforts to achieve goals never attained before and demands new forms of collaboration and participation, which many countries have little familiarity with. It says that "the message of Dakar is not one of complacency; on the contrary, it is a wake-up call and an invitation to act both urgently but also in a sustained way during the years ahead. It is hoped that these guidelines will prove helpful to those who take up this invitation."
 
The country guidelines will be made available shortly.
 
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MISSION OF UNESCO'S ASSISTANT DIRECTOR-GENERAL FOR EDUCATION TO THE UNITED STATES
 
Jacques Hallak, Assistant Director-General for Education a.i. at UNESCO, will go on mission to New York and Washington from 25 to 26 July 2000 to meet with Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of UNICEF, Nafis Sadik, Executive Director of UNFPA and Eduardo Doryan (Vice-president of the World Bank).
 
Discussions will mainly focus on the draft Action Plan mentioned above and on inter-agency co-operation on EFA, including the questions of membership of the working group on Education for All, financial contributions to Dakar follow-up, inter-agency flagship programmes and secondment of staff to UNESCO.
 
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EXTENSIVE CONSULTATIONS WITH EFA STAKEHOLDERS
 
Over the past three months, UNESCO's Director-General and the Assistant Director-General for Education have engaged in extensive consultations with a broad range of EFA stakeholders, ranging from the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the heads of UNESCO's partner agencies and permanent delegations to UNESCO to representatives from bilateral donor agencies, regional networks and non-governmental organizations active in the field of education.
 
UNESCO has also established preliminary contacts with OECD and the G-8 countries to reflect on how to rationalize and intensify the flow of financing in favour of basic education.
 
Finally, UNESCO ensured that the Dakar Framework for Action was on the agenda of recent international conferences such as the Beijing +5, Copenhagen +5 and the meeting of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
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DISSEMINATION OF DAKAR FINAL DOCUMENTS
 
The Dakar Framework for Action now exists in the six official languages of the United Nations (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish). Most language versions are already available on the World Education Forum website (http://www2.unesco.org/wef), where the regional frameworks for action also can be found. The global and regional frameworks will be published together with the Declaration on Education for All (Jomtien, 1990).
 
The Final Report of the Dakar conference is currently being translated for printing in the same six languages.
 
Twelve thematic studies on educational issues of global concern, prepared for the EFA 2000 Assessment, will be published in a revised format in English and French.
 
All documents will be printed by October 2000 and will be widely disseminated to all EFA constituencies. They will also be available on the Internet address mentioned above.
 
 
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Contact: Anne Muller (a.muller@unesco.org)