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Press releases > Dakar 27/04/2000
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  DAKAR, April 27, 2000 - UNICEF, UNFPA, the World Bank, and certain OECD countries stressed today, during the second day of the World Education Forum, the responsibility of governments in developing countries towards financing education.
  This sentiment was expressed at the first plenary session of the 2nd day of the World Education Forum, whose theme was "Making effective use of resources for education," during which 10 leaders of international organizations and ministers spoke.
  According to World Bank President, James D. Wolfensohn, education is "at the heart of all politics and development". This conviction moved the World Bank to increase its financial envelope for this sector from $900 million in 1990, the year of the World Education for All Conference (Jomtien, Thailand), to the current $1.9 billion.
  All the same, said the head of the financial institution, the most important role in education financing must be played by the governments themselves. Some 75 per cent of education financing comes from governments, while only 10 per cent from donors agencies. The remaining 15 per cent comes from the private sector. Out of the 10 per cent provided by the donors, only 2-3 per cent is used for basic education, said Jean-Claude Faure, President of the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD.
  The World Bank President forcefully reaffirmed his institution's endeavor to further support education, especially for girls, and insist on the necessity to fight poverty, the largest cause of exclusion, to realize the objective of universal education between now and 2015. According to him, the international community, in its promotion of children's education, has produced some "good results" since Jomtien, even though some 110 million children are still uneducated.
  Wolfensohn said he was prepared to "strongly support" the global campaign for education put forth by non-governmental organizations which demands a financial envelope of $4 billion.
  Nafis Sadik, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), insisted on the necessity of putting an end to the disparity that exists between boys and girls, which, she said, calls for a political engagement from governments. She confirmed UNFPA''s will to help developing countries better their basic education, without losing sight of relative aspects regarding the prevention of AIDS and primary health care. For Sadik, education must be considered in its globality.
  We must make education a right for everyone and an obligation for governments, said UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy. She called on a strong political commitment and generous financing from governments and donors to realize the objective of education for all by the year 2015. Bellamy invited the 1,500 participants of the Forum to prioritize the five following essential actions: enrich early child care and learning; reach excluded children; enhance girls' education; improve education quality; and restore education in emergencies.
  Eveline Herfkens, Minister of Development Cooperation, the Netherlands, and Clare Short, Secretary of State for International Development, United Kingdom, forcefully stressed that no country seriously committed to basic education will be thwarted in the achievement of this goal by lack of resources.
  Herfkens asked donors agencies to take another look at the actions taken up until now to respond to the poorest countries' needs. Short pleaded for practical measures to be taken, insisting particularly on the importance of access to reliable statistics in all countries for effective evaluations. Jean-Claude Faure affirmed the support of the OECD to all countries that will initiate a feasible program with valuable objectives.
  Drawing on conclusions made at the plenary session, the Minister of Education for Bangladesh, A.S.H.K. Sadique, called for a new effort, though he frowned at the fact that the Dakar Framework for Action accords too much priority to central governments, to the detriment of local communities, whose education efforts are undeniable.
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