Regional Conferences in support of Global Literacy

Students reading, Ethiopia

© UNESCO/Niamh Burke
Students reading, Ethiopia

Organized in 2007 and 2008 in the framework of the United Nations Literacy Decade (UNLD), the UNESCO Regional Conferences in Support of Global Literacy were part of a major drive to promote literacy at international and regional levels.

The Conferences built upon the work begun at the White House Conference on Global Literacy convened by Mrs Laura Bush, the Honorary Ambassador of the UNLD, in September 2006.


The six conferences took place in Qatar for the Arab States region, in China for East Asia, South East Asia and the Pacific, in Mali for the Africa, in India for South, South West and Central Asia, in Azerbaijan for Europe and in Mexico for Latin America and the Caribbean and addressed literacy challenges specific to each region.

The objectives of the Regional Conferences were to advocate for literacy, identify and discuss main challenges and achievements, present and disseminate effective literacy practices, build cooperation among stakeholders, develop recommendations on the way forward and mobilize partners and resources for concrete interventions at the country level.

In thematic roundtables, experts presented main challenges and achievements in the respective regions – with a focus on literacy policies and strategies, costs and financing, programme delivery, monitoring and evaluation and multilingual approaches to literacy. Panel discussions featured effective programmes from the region in the fields of family literacy and intergenerational learning, literacy for health, literacy for economic self-sufficiency, literacy and lifelong learning and literacy and ICTs.

The Conferences were attended by Ministers in charge of education and literacy, Ministers of finance, representatives from UN Agencies and other international organizations, civil society, universities and research institutes, programme managers and practitioners, multilateral and bilateral organizations and private foundations, and donors. The active support and participation of First Ladies and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors raised the profile of the Conferences.

Contact: litconference(at)

Back to top