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Latest news >Sub-regional EFA Forum (SRF) > Minutes
 
 
Sub-regional EFA Forum (SRF) for East and South East Asia
7 December 2000; UNESCO-PROAP
MINUTES
 
 Present:
 

1. Mr. Zhou Nanzhao, UNESCO-PROAP

2. Ms. Rika Fujioka, FAO

3. Ms. Keiko Watanabe, JICA

4. Mr. Abdul Wahid bin Sulaiman, SEAMEO

5. Ms. Duangtip Surintatip, Permanent Delegation of Thailand to UNESCO

6. Ms. Duriya Amatavivat, Thailand National Commission for UNESCO

7. Mr. Jim Irvine, UNICEF-EAPRO

8. Mr. A.H.A. Hakeem, UNESCO-PROAP (Secretariat)

9. Mr. Kiichi Oyasu, UNESCO-PROAP

10. Mr. Nyi Nyi Thaung, UNESCO-PROAP

11. Mr. Toshiyuki Matsumoto, UNESCO-PROAP

 
Apologies:
 

1. Mr. Yasushi Hirosato, ADB

2. Ms. Nanda Krairiksh, ESCAP

3. Ms. Asa Jonsson, ESCAP

4. Ms. Sandra Pellegrom, Royal Netherlands Embassy

5. Mr. Apichai Sunchindah, UNDP

6. Ms. Parichart Siwaraksa, UNDP

7. Ms. Dominique Altner, UNESCO-PROAP

8. Mr. Pornchai Suchitta, UNFPA

9. Ms. Tanaporn Poshyananda, World Bank

 
Mr. Zhou Nanzhao, Director a.i. of UNESCO-PROAP, opened the meeting and explained that he was chairing the meeting as the acting Coordinator of the Sub-regional EFA Forum (SRF) for East and South East Asia. He expected that a new Director of PROAP would soon be appointed and would chair the next SRF working group meeting to be held in January 2001.
 
and function of this meeting without participation of other members outside Bangkok. It was explained that the SRF is expected to function on three levels: (i) day-to-day operation; (ii) a working group that may meet every quarter or more often and consists of UN agencies, international and regional organizations and bilateral and multilateral donors; and (iii) a plenary forum that may meet once or twice a year and consists of all SRF members. In the working group meeting, all major activities about the follow-up to the Dakar Framework for Action will be discussed, and the meeting should have an agreement within the SRF working group members. Major decisions should be adopted in the SRF plenary forum. This meeting was a working group meeting and aimed to discuss the issues in the agenda. What has been discussed and recommended by the meeting will be circulated to all SRF members for their amendment or approval.
 
1. 1st Meeting of the Working Group on EFA
 
The report of the mission undertaken by Mr. Zhou to the first meeting of the Global Working Group on EFA at UNESCO Headquarters on 22-24 November 2000 was circulated. The objective of the meeting was exchange of information about the progress made at national, regional and international levels, following the Dakar World Education Forum in April 2000. It was advised that the bi-weekly Bulletin Board on follow-up activities to the World Education Forum is published by UNESCO at the following website:
 
http://www2.unesco.org/wef/en-news/Bulletin%20Board.shtm
 
Ms. Duangtip Surintatip, Deputy Permanent Delegate of Thailand to UNESCO, referred to the existence of many initiatives related to EFA at the global level, and that some SRF members may not have sufficient information about these initiatives. She also said that there was lack of clarity on the question of linking or integrating the global initiatives of UN agencies and development banks with national EFA plans. She further said that if the plan were to be costed as suggested by UNICEF representative at the Global Working Group on EFA, the EFA plan should be a separate one although integrated into the national plan.
 
With regard to data collection for monitoring progress in EFA some agencies, along with UIS, are compiling EFA follow-up data in selected areas at disaggregated levels. In this regard, it was emphasized that while UIS is expected to play an important role in the area of EFA data collection other organizations including the OECD are important partners in this activity.
 
Mr. Zhou Nanzhao expressed his disappointment about the lack of emphasis on the SRF at the meeting. It was reported that Mr. Zhou discussed with Mr. Jacques Hallak, ADG/ED a.i. of UNESCO, what the SRF for East and Southeast Asia had been doing, and explained the importance of the SRF in regard to the follow-up activities to the Dakar Framework for Action, at least for East and Southeast Asia.
 
2. National EFA Coordinators Meeting
 
Mr. Jim Irvine, UNICEF-EAPRO, briefly reviewed the report on the National EFA Coordinators Meeting, held on 2-3 November 2000 in Bangkok. It was stressed that the meeting was able to provide the National EFA Coordinators with a good opportunity to share the information about what each country in the sub-region has done since the World Education Forum in late April 2000.
 
Mr. Irvine also stressed that there is a need to mobilize fund for the SRF Secretariat in order to function at full strength. He suggested that one possibility is to approach country level EFA partners to share the cost as well as to utilize their resources, which he found had worked successfully in some countries. Mr. Abdul Wahid bin Sulaiman, SEAMEO, supported the idea and informed the meeting that SEAMEO has 15 training centres in this sub-region and some resources to support training programmes.
 
Following the agenda item 1 and 2, the importance of resource mobilization was discussed. It was reported that Mr. Charles Currin, Lead Education Specialist of ADB, will come to Bangkok in January 2000. In this connection, it was suggested that the next meeting should discuss how the SRF could prepare some project proposals on EFA follow-up activities to submit to donor agencies and development banks.
 
Mr. Irvine also suggested that there are several countries with resources, such as Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea and Singapore in the Asia Pacific region, and the SRF should seek how the SRF could enhance the limited resources of some countries by assistance from other more affluent countries. Ms. Keiko Watanabe explained that JICA is a bilateral agency. In principle, there is no scheme to undertake any sub-regional or regional project per se. However, JICA can learn the EFA activities in the SFR member countries and inform these initiatives to the respective JICA field offices and Headquarters in Tokyo for further bi-lateral collaboration. In addition, she introduced the JICA's scheme of "Third country training programme" which enhances the South-South cooperation utilizing the core country's resources.
 
3. Terms of reference of the SRF
 
The meeting discussed the TOR of the SRF. Mr. Abdul Wahid bin Sulaiman stressed the importance of the longer-term support to the National EFA Forum. In this connection, he commented that the use of the word "operation" in item one is appropriate. It was suggested that the TOR should be general and the phrase "in co-operation with UNESCO Institute of Statistics" in item five be deleted because not only UNESCO but also some other agencies are collecting data. It was also suggested that it will be difficult for the SRF for East and Southeast Asia to provide the other three SRFs with technical support given the limited funds and manpower available.
 

On the basis of these suggestions, the TOR were revised to read as follows:

1. Providing support for the establishment and operation of the National EFA Forum;

2. Supporting country level reviews, up-dating or formulating of EFA national plans through harmonized technical cooperation;

3. Capacity building for implementation and monitoring of EFA plans;

4. Sharing information among members of the forum, and harmonizing programming and formulation of projects;

5. Monitoring of, and technical assistance to, the member countries' data collection and analysis;

6. Helping identify and mobilize resources for common priority initiatives; and

7. Providing secretarial support and clearing-house information services for the other three SRFs namely: Central Asia and the Trans-Caucasus; Pacific; and, South and West Asia, as needed.

 
The meeting proposed that the chairperson should write to the Coordinators of the three other SRFs in the region to clarify whether Member States in these sub-regions need secretarial support and clearing-house function from the SRF for East and Southeast Asia.
 
Membership of the SRF
 
The meeting reviewed the membership of the SRF in the report on the National EFA Coordinators Meeting. It was pointed out that APEC has strong interest in the education activities, but ASEAN is not so active in the field of education, especially in basic education. It was reported that the Chinese National Commission for UNESCO expressed its interest in being a member of the SRF. It was stressed that the membership of the SRF should be kept open. In this regard, it was suggested that the SRF should again ask bilateral agencies working in the field of education in East and Southeast Asia whether they are interested in being members of the SRF. Mongolia and Papua New Guinea attended the National EFA Coordinators Meeting in November 2000. The SRF will ask their Ministry of Education to clarify their interest in being a member of the SRF for East and Southeast Asia. Although Singapore officially expressed lack of interest in being a member of the SRF for East and Southeast Asia, the Secretariat will approach Singapore again at an appropriate moment. Also the Secretariat will contact Brunei which had not replied to the earlier invitation to join the SRF.
 
4. Work modality and Secretariat of the SRF
 
The meeting reviewed the work modality of the SRF in the report on the National EFA Coordinators Meeting. It was suggested that it is not appropriate to use the word "strong support" in the item eight. Based on this suggestion, item eight was revised to read as follows:
 
The SRF Secretariat will serve as the clearing-house to provide regular correspondence and information concerning EFA activities in this sub-region.
Mr. Zhou Nanzhao informed the meeting that UNESCO PROAP would continue to serve as the SRF Secretariat and Mr. A.H.A. Hakeem, Coordinator of APPEAL was appointed to be SRF Secretary who will work in close collaboration with Ms. Dominique Altner, Chief of PSA and that the SRF Secretariat will now be located in the APPEAL Unit. APPEAL (Asia-Pacific Programme of Education for All) was created as regional cooperative programme on Education for All. Mr. Kiichi Oyasu, Programme Specialist of APPEAL, will be a new member of the SRF Secretariat. Mr. Nyi Nyi Thaung and Mr. Toshiyuki Matsumoto will continue to work as a member of the SRF Secretariat. E-mail address of the SRF Secretariat remains the same ( SRF@unesco-proap.org ).
 
5. Project initiative
 
Mr. Zhou Nanzhao explained that PROAP professionals prepared and submitted 12 proposals on urgent actions for Dakar follow-up, as requested by UNESCO Director-General, in cooperation with other UNESCO field offices in the region. He also mentioned about the current and potential funding support from Japan to APPEAL.
 
Mr. Jim Irvine suggested that all agencies who have education programs/projects in the region be invited to report on them to the Secretariat at the next working group meeting to share the information such as plans and priorities, look for possibilities for joint projects and avoid duplication and inefficient resource utilization.
 
Mr. A.H.A. Hakeem, UNESCO-PROAP, pointed out that the issue on life skills was raised as a possible topic for early action at the National EFA Coordinators Meeting in November 2000.
 
The importance of using ICT as a tool to promote EFA was stressed. It was suggested that information on ICT and its relations to education can be accessed through the following UNESCO websites:
 
http://www.unesco.org/education/e_learning/index.html
http://www.unescobkk.org/infores/pips/info1/cover.htm
http://www.unescobkk.org/infores/pips/edtech.htm
http://www.unescobkk.org/infores/pips/inf.htm
 
6. Integration/cooperation with the UN Inter-agency Thematic Working Group (TWG) on EFA
 
Mr. Zhou Nanzhao explained both the common objectives of SRF and TWG in EFA and the difference between them. A major difference is that SRF is a sub-regional mechanism for EFA in East and Southeast Asia and includes the members outside UN agencies such as ADB, SEAMEO, bilateral donors, NGOs and Member States, while TWG focuses on region-wide activity and its membership is UN agencies. It was suggested that this issue be decided upon at the next working group meeting. Since ESCAP and UNDP have been chairing meetings of Heads of UN agencies (HOA) and are main coordinators of UN TWG, it was important that they be fully consulted and present at discussions on this matter. The Secretariat will distribute the background information of TWG to the SRF working group members.
 
7. Next SRF meeting
 
The meeting decided to hold the next working group meeting tentatively on 17 January 2001. The date of the next meeting will be re-considered after consultation with the members who did not attend this meeting and Messrs. Charles Currin and Yasushi Hirosato, who will be invited to the next meeting to represent ADB.
 
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