News bulletin board of UNESCO's Education Sector
No. 2
 
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). The bulletin board currently exists in English only, but will shortly be available in French as well.
 

Contents (28 July 2000)

- UNESCO ACTION PLAN FOR DAKAR FOLLOW-UP FOR YOUR COMMENTS

- BASIC EDUCATION HITS THE AGENDA OF G-8 SUMMIT

 
 
EFA PARTNERS INVITED TO COMMENT ON UNESCO ACTION PLAN
 
  A revised draft Action Plan outlining UNESCO's vision for follow-up activities to the Dakar Forum is now being circulated to relevant Education for All partners for information and comments.
 
 The Action Plan, attached to this bulletin board, is the result of wide-ranging consultations to determine the concrete modalities of implementing the Dakar Framework for Action. A previous version of the plan was sent to the heads of UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF and the World Bank and discussed during the mission of Jacques Hallak, UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Education, to the United States earlier this week. Their pertinent comments have now been incorporated in the revised draft.
 
 "We now hope to receive more comments and suggestions from a larger audience of EFA stakeholders," says Mr Hallak. He was very encouraged to see the enthusiasm of UNESCO's partners in New York and Washington for the EFA agenda.
 
Mr Hallak met with Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of UNICEF, and her colleagues working in education, Eduardo Doryan, Vice-president of the World Bank, and Maris O'Rourke, head of the new EFA taskforce in the Bank, Kunio Waki, Deputy Executive Director of UNFPA, and Nitin Desai, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations, as well as representatives of the United States government.
 
  They all welcomed UNESCO's efforts in the follow-up to Dakar and are mobilizing and promoting EFA within their own organizations.
 
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G-8 LEADERS ENDORSE GLOBAL COMMITMENT TO EFA
 
  At the request of UNESCO, the Dakar Framework for Action was on the agenda of this week's G-8 Summit in Okinawa, Japan. In the final communiqué of the summit, the leaders of the world's richest countries state that "we have agreed to (...) follow up vigorously the conclusions of the recent Dakar Conference on Education by ensuring that additional resources are made available for basic education."
 
  It adds, "we reaffirm our commitment that no government seriously committed to achieving education for all will be thwarted in this achievement by lack of resources."
 
  The leaders commit themselves to "strengthen efforts bilaterally and together with international organizations and private sector donors to achieve the goals of universal primary education by 2015 and gender equality in schooling by 2005." And they call on international financial institutions, in partnership with developing countries, to focus on education in their poverty reduction strategies and to provide greater assistance for countries with sound education strategies.
 
"These strategies should maximise the potential benefits of IT in this area through distance learning wherever possible and other effective means," the communiqué says.
 
Jacques Hallak, UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Education, calls the G-8 communiqué "an extremely positive sign" and "a step forward".
 
"The statement is a clear endorsement by some of the world's most important donors to the financial commitments made in Dakar," he says.
 
In a letter to the Japanese authorities preparing the Summit, UNESCO said that the "G-8 should strongly commit itself in favour of additional financial support for basic education, as well as in favour of more extensive and broader debt relief and/or debt cancellation for poverty reduction, with a huge emphasis being placed on basic education."
 
According to Mr Hallak, UNESCO has started to reflect on how to renew financing mechanisms for basic education and, more broadly, to ensure more effective and regular monitoring and reporting of external assistance flow. Based on extensive consultations with international financial institutions, the Organization is preparing a position paper on this issue, which will be shared with the readers of this bulletin board in a few weeks.
 
The G-8 communiqué Okinawa 2000 can be found at
http://www.g8kyushu-okinawa.go.jp/e/documents/commu.html