Director-General briefs GEFI Champion Countries in New York

© UNESCO - Director-General, Irina Bokova at the GEFI meeting. United Nations, New York, 22 May 2014

The Director-General met today with the Champion Countries of the UN Secretary-General’s Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) in her capacity as the Executive-Secretary of the High-level Steering Committee of the Initiative. In attendance were the Permanent Representatives to the United Nations of Andorra, Benin, Croatia, Ethiopia, Mozambique, South Africa, Tunisia and United States, the Deputy Permanent Representatives of Brazil and Denmark, and the Counsellor of China.

The Director-General provided a brief overview on the outcome of the 3rd GEFI High-level Steering Committee meeting held in Rome at the beginning of the month including the proposal by Denmark, on behalf of the Champion Countries, to hold a high-level event during the 69th GA High-level Week.

The Director-General highlighted the unanimous call by members of the Steering Committee for unrelenting efforts to leave no one behind by ensuring access for the 57 million out-of-school children. Stating that the Secretary-General’s Initiative provides the bridge between the current and the future development agendas, the Director-General also stressed the importance of setting the ambitions higher in the new agenda to universalize access to secondary education. The Director-General also emphasized that reaching out and protecting girls, especially adolescent girls, to support them in making the transition from primary to lower secondary level would be especially critical.   

A number of Champion Countries concurred with the Director-General’s emphasis on the need for the Post 2015 development agenda to focus on improving the quality of education to address the global learning crisis which is leaving hundreds of millions of children and youth without the foundational skills needed to help them fulfil their potential.  

The Director-General also informed the Member States of the recently concluded Global EFA Meeting in Oman and the Muscat Agreement on the Post 2015 education agenda as well as the upcoming Replenishment Pledging Conference to increase financing for education to take place in Brussels in June led by the Global Partnership for Education.

The Champion Countries welcomed the proposal for a single unified event to be attended at the highest level to highlight the importance of education in achieving sustainable development during the 69th session of the General Assembly in September 2014 to maximize political impact.

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