17.12.2009 -

Looking back: Major Education events in 2009

Education 2009

© UNESCO/Justin Mott

Major UNESCO conferences on sustainable development, higher education and adult learning brought together experts from all over the world to move forward the debate in each field in 2009.

The first, The World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development – ‘Moving into the Second Half of the UN Decade’, was held in Bonn, Germany at the end of March.

It brought together participants from over 150 countries to take stock of achievements during the first half of the UN Decade. As a result the Bonn Declaration was adopted providing a strategic orientation for the second half of the Decade and calling for a compact with the global DESD movement to improve knowledge, skills and competencies.

In July the World Conference on Higher Education, ‘The New Dynamics of Higher Education’ gathered over 1,000 participants from 150 countries at UNESCO headquarters in Paris to debate issues including the impact of globalization on higher education, social responsibility, academic freedom, research and financing.

It closed with a call to governments to increase investment in higher education, encourage diversity and strengthen regional cooperation.

Education in the context of the global financial crisis also featured strongly at UNESCO’s 35th General Conference held in October.

The last big education conference was held in December when the Sixth International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VI) ‘Living and Learning for a Viable Future -The Power of Adult Learning’ took place in Bélem, Brazil.

The conference, organized by UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning in cooperation with the UNESCO Brasilia office, gathered key representatives in the field from all over the world to discuss policies and governance for adult education and, in particular, literacy as a key competence for lifelong learning.

At its close the Bélem Framework for Action was adopted calling for governments to redouble efforts to meet adult literacy goals while accelerating the agenda for adult learning and education.

During 2009 UNESCO awarded prizes for achievements in literacy as part of its celebrations for Literacy Day in September and the UNESCO Emir of Kuwait Prize for efforts in special needs education in December.

Related Links

The Bonn Declaration

The Communiqué from the 2009 World Higher Education Conference

Belém Framework for Action Preliminary Draft

Round-up of Education at UNESCO 35th General Conference

Literacy Prize Winners

UNESCO Emir of Kuwait Prize


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