NATIONS EDUCATIONAL, SCIENTIFIC AND CULTURAL ORGANIZATION
by Mr Koïchiro Matsuura
of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
the meeting of bilateral and multinational organizations on
the global EFA initiative
28 February 2001
Ladies and Gentlemen,
am very pleased to see that so many of you have been able
to make it to Paris for this meeting. We are all here to take
the global initiative forward in a spirit of collaboration
and common cause.
Dakar, UNESCO has held numerous discussions and consultations
with all of the constituencies in the EFA movement. These
have ranged from the highly political to the technical. One
important milestone was when I first introduced the strategy
paper on the global initiative before the OECD/DAC last October.
The paper has been modified on the basis of your comments
and you will be discussing it tomorrow. Another - the culmination
of these consultations - was the meeting of the Working Group
in November 2000.
Group was set up as an informal, flexible mechanism of all
EFA partners, following the strong signal given in Dakar,
particularly by ministers, not to establish new, permanent
coordination structures. I shall continue to convene the Working
Group on Education for All annually, and expect the next meeting
to take place during the second half of this year. Similarly,
I shall convene the high-level policy group later this year.
It was initially planned in April but, for a number of reasons,
we decided to convene it at a later date. In this connection,
I would welcome any proposals concerning the conveying of
this meeting. Finally, as proposed at the Working Group meeting
in November, I shall also convene a sub-committee whose Terms
of Reference, composition and timing will form part of the
discussions during these next three days.
For reasons of manageability, it was not possible to have
widespread representation of the individual constituencies,
including from the agency community, in the meeting of the
Working Group last November. In response to the request that
UNESCO should create a forum for regular consultation among
the funding and technical assistance agencies, we have now
invited all DAC member countries as well as OECD/DAC, all
multinational organizations and not just the other four core
EFA partners, and the development banks.
30 and more different organizations present here today have
all selected their own participants, often more than one from
each organization. This is an achievement. It demonstrates
commitment in all quarters: UNESCOs in its mandate to coordinate
all EFA partners, and yours to the EFA movement and the global
initiative as a piece in the complicated equation to achieve
the Dakar goals on Education for All.
respect to the countries, the major stakeholders in the Dakar
Follow-up process, UNESCO has been particularly concerned
with starting up and/or sustaining the EFA process. Much of
this work has been undertaken in cooperation with other agencies,
in particular UNICEF.
can be made of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between
these two organizations for West and Central Africa, or of
the EFA kits developed in order to mobilize all partners in
support of the EFA movement in Latin America and the Caribbean.
In the case of the Arab States region, UNESCO is specifically
involved in streamlining statistics and indicators for management
information systems. In the Asia and Pacific region work has
concentrated on EFA plans and new mechanisms for sub-regional
forum meetings of national EFA co-ordinators. High-level policy
meetings have been held, for example, for Heads of West African
States in Mali in November 2000, co-organized by the World
Bank and UNESCO, which I attended myself. Another high-level
policy meeting will take place for education ministers in
Latin America and the Caribbean in Bolivia next week, which
I will also attend.
At the meeting of the Working Group on Education for All,
I outlined the structural reform UNESCO is undergoing, partly
to become a more efficient and modern organization, and partly
to bring EFA into the heart of the Organizations programme
activities. I shall not repeat what I said then. But let me
briefly mention some further steps which have been taken since
that meeting in order to further strengthen the EFA focus
internally in the Organization.
First, I have now appointed our new Assistant Director-General
for Education who will be responsible for the Dakar Follow-up
work. He is John Daniel, the current Vice-Chancellor of the
Open University in the United Kingdom and President of the
Open University of the United States. John Daniel will join
us officially as from 2 April, but we are fortunate to have
him with us during the next three days.
Second, our endeavours to move the global initiative forward
will benefit from the financial expertise of Kosuke Nakahira,
former Vice-Minister of Finance in Japan and Jean-Michel Severino,
Inspecteur général des Finances in the Ministry of Finance,
Economy and Industry here in France. Mr Severino, who is also
former Vice-President of the World Bank, will be presiding
over the meeting today and tomorrow and will also facilitate
one of the group discussions.
Third, we will also benefit from the expertise of Mr Ingemar
Gustafsson of the Swedish International Development Cooperation
Agency who will be one of two external personalities in a
small Steering Committee for the Dakar Follow-up Unit which
I shall describe in a minute. Gustafsson, who is the Head
of a newly created Methods Development Unit and former Head
of the Education Division of Sida, is also with us in this
meeting and will play an active role as a facilitator of the
second working group.
Fourth, I have strengthened the internal Dakar Follow-up work
through the setting up of the following inter-linked mechanisms:
an Intersectoral Strategic Group involving all sectors of
UNESCO and a Dakar Follow-up Unit in the Education Sector
with its accompanying Steering Committee mainly composed of
internal members, but with two external personalities. The
Unit is supported by a number of correspondents based in the
divisions of the Education Sector and in selected UNESCO Institutes,
most of whom are present in this meeting.
two meetings of the next three days are critical. Many are
watching to see if we, the international community, fulfil
our collective responsibility towards the Dakar Framework
for Action. We are all aware that we need to show real progress.
We will best be able to do this if we can truly reach a high
degree of consensus among all partners on the interpretation
of the global initiative and actions towards its achievement.
In discussing the global initiative, for which we have a collective
responsibility, it is important to clarify two very common
misconceptions concerning its content and UNESCOs role. The
global initiative is not only about the need to secure increased
funding for Education for All in the South by the countries
in the North. This is a part of the picture only, as is clearly
expressed in UNESCO's background document and in the programme
for this meeting. Resource mobilization, resource utilization
and resource management at national and international levels
are all equally important.
role is to co-ordinate the global initiative. This is done
through the strategy development in which you are all participating
and through necessary advocacy which will be undertaken, amongst
others, by the financial experts I referred to earlier, Kosuke
Nakahira and Jean-Michel Severino. In order to avoid any misunderstanding
I would like to make it clear that UNESCO is not seeking to
ensure increased funding for itself and its programme activities
through this initiative.
international support for education in developing countries
constitutes only 3 per cent of the global education budget
for these countries, according to World Bank calculations.
The trend in overall flows during the 1990s was an increase
in private financing and a decrease in Official Development
Assistance. We know that private financing needs safe investment
environments. The poorest countries and social development,
therefore, suffer from this trend.
partners in the global initiative, we must do our utmost to
convince our countries and organizations that increased Official
Development Assistance on soft terms for Education for All
is an absolute necessity if we are to reach the goals set
at Dakar. Developing countries need Official Development Assistance
to attract or boost international investment, to support national
financial mobilization efforts and general economic and educational
development, and to undertake innovative programme activities.
know that some countries and organizations have already begun
to allocate more funding for basic education. I am thinking
of, for example the United Kingdom, Sweden and the World Bank.
But still, we also know that the gap is tremendous, even if
specific resource gaps in specific country contexts still
have to be clearly identified.
we need to try to resolve in this meeting are, at least, the
first concrete actions which the international community must
take in order to ensure an increase in external financing
for basic education and accordingly make a real difference
to those who are most in need: children, women, the poor,
the marginalized and the excluded.
should also consider whether it is useful to set specific
funding targets for basic education to be met by the international
community at set intervals up to 2015.
And we need to decide on concrete actions to tap resources
from the private sector, private philanthropists and private
foundations; to design innovative fund-raising schemes; to
mobilize NGOs to their utmost capacity in fund-raising efforts;
and to ensure more systematic linkages of education with other
development initiatives as a way of enhancing not only funding
for Education for All, but also holistic development efforts.
this context, a core concern that needs immediate and resolute
action is to ensure that the debt relief schemes truly assist
in supporting Education for All at the country level. The
current experiences are few and varied. No one seems to disagree
on the potential of this mechanism. But many seem to doubt
either its genuine use or the pace of implementation seen
in relation to the EFA targets.
I know that the first working group has tabled this issue
for special attention and will be able to base itself on important
contributions from the World Bank and IMF. But where do the
OECD countries stand on this issue? What kind of progress
are they making? What explains the recent, hopefully positive
developments in the United Kingdom and France in this area?
have similar, varied experiences when it comes to the practice
of donor coordination and sector-wide approaches. We are fortunate
that there is such a high degree of consensus on the need
to establish new modalities for international development
co-operation. Although reaching general agreement is perhaps
the easy part, this is still an achievement when we think
of the variety of partners and interests that are concerned
with educational development in the South. But, unfortunately,
it continues to be difficult in practice to act together,
to give up traditional domains and for leaders to take the
role of followers. How far have we come? What are the core
bottlenecks? Why are the experiences positive?
will know that we have also organized an NGO consultation
on 2 March, NGOs being important stakeholders in the EFA process.
This is the first occasion for a more systematic consultation
with the NGO community. I hope it will be a fruitful beginning
of a new and productive relationship. I am delighted that
so many of you will be able to participate in this consultation
as well. This, again, will help us to build up consolidated
views on the content, actions, steps and mechanisms that need
to be taken into account in order to fulfil our commitment
to Education for All through the global initiative.
have a huge and difficult task ahead of us. Occasionally we
hear strongly voiced criticism in particular from the NGO
community that the global initiative is not moving forward.
We are moving forward, but perhaps not fast enough in their
eyes. Therefore, it is crucial that we fulfil our collective
responsibility to come out with a concrete action plan on
the global initiative.
I said at the beginning, the global initiative is only one
piece of the puzzle to ensure success in the achievement of
EFA goals. The heart of the activity lies at the country level.
Nevertheless, I believe that it is critically important that
the international community restates its commitment and shows
its capacity to move forward through the global initiative.
I hope that the outcomes of your meeting and that with the
NGO community will permit me to announce the strategies and
actions for this initiative on the first anniversary of the
World Education Forum at Dakar. We too, at our level, must
make moves that are visible. I wish you a good and productive
time in Paris.