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Latest news > Messaje from 'UNESCO to GCE

2-8 APRIL 2001

Warmest greetings from UNESCO to the Second Global Action Week on Promoting Education for All. It is heartening to see students, teachers, politicians, journalists and many other lifelong learners around the world join together to champion the cause of education. UNESCO is with you in heart and spirit during this week, which is another milestone in strengthening a broad-based movement around education and in contributing to the building of learning societies around the world.

As we move closer to the first anniversary of the World Education Forum in Dakar, the Second Global Action Week rightly focuses on EFA at the country level where the commitment of national authorities and their partners is needed to finalise the Action Plans by the year 2002. Last year, in the run-up to Dakar, your campaign targeted the international level. This year, you have called upon civil society at the country level to plan and carry out advocacy activities. This is especially appropriate since those of you who work at the national level witness each day the consequences of poverty and exclusion from education. UNESCO will do everything in its power to convince governments of the absolute need to involve civil society in the formulation of their national plans. This is stipulated in the Dakar Framework for Action and UNESCO is convinced of the validity of this process and has spelt it out in the guidelines it sent out to assist countries to set up their national EFA forums. UNESCO will continue to reinforce this message at every possible opportunity.

UNESCO is currently mapping the latest developments regarding the preparation of national action plans on EFA and will soon make the information available on the Internet. The global movement will thus have a clearer picture of EFA country efforts: which bilateral and multilateral partners are participating, the resource gaps, the technical assistance required and whether civil society is involved.

At the country level, you have a clear sense of what kinds of schools and programmes are needed in specific cultural and social contexts. Indeed, NGOs and community-based organizations have worked hand-in-hand with UNESCO in developing creative approaches to education, aimed at providing opportunities for all learners and promoting development.

As you know, UNESCO is a source of knowledge and experience regarding formal and non-formal approaches to providing learning opportunities for all, including support to the development of national education plans. UNESCO works at several levels: with policy-makers and decision-makers within government ministries but also directly with those excluded from the right to education, such as working and street children, marginalised youth, illiterate women and men, and people affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. We are aware that these learners are at the centre of your concern.

UNESCO appreciates the growing collaboration with the Global Campaign for Education in the Global Initiative to design the strategies and mobilise the resources needed to provide effective support to national efforts in the achievement of the EFA goals and targets. You are all invited to make suggestions as to how UNESCO may further strengthen and improve its collaboration with civil society in the follow-up to Dakar.

The synergy between local and global efforts still needs to be strengthened in order to move effectively towards EFA. Indeed, as was agreed in Dakar, civil society has to be involved in EFA efforts at the international and regional levels but above all at the national level.

UNESCO wishes you every success for this Second Global Action Week and looks forward to learning about its outcomes.

Source: World Association of Newspapers
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