Launch of new Education for All Regional Coordination Structure for sub-Saharan Africa
UNESCO's Director-General, Irina Bokova, launched a new Education for All regional coordination structure for sub-Saharan Africa on 14 February 2013. The launch took place during her official visit to Senegal and in the presence of representatives of UN agencies and major technical and financial partners including NGOs, civil society and the private sector.
The primary function of the new structure is to coordinate and accelerate the African continental actions and responses for the achievement of the six Education for All goals. These goals were established at the World Education Forum (Senegal, 26-28 April 2000) organized by the World Bank, UNFPA, UNPD, UNICEF, and UNESCO.
"My plea is that this partnership grows from strength to strength and that together we will support ongoing efforts for accelerating progress towards attaining EFA by 2015 as well as other post 2015 education goals. In that regard, I call upon all technical and financial partners to support this endeavor with renewed energy," declared UNESCO's Director-General during the launch.
Mrs Bokova said that "in an environment of scarce resources, partnerships and joint actions, complemented with effective coordination are imperatives for successful outcomes".
Missing the Education for All target
"Despite the significant progress accomplished in most African countries since 2000, a majority of them will not achieve the EFA goals by 2015," said Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta, Director of UNESCO's Regional Office in Dakar in her speech.
EFA profiles for sub-Saharan African countries show that, out of 44 African countries for which data is available, at least 31 are unlikely to meet the EFA goals by 2015. 12 countries could still manage to do so if strategic actions for acceleration are undertaken in that regard, in particular the reinforcement of political commitment and financial mobilization at the national and regional levels.
Two-tier coordination mechanism
The implementation of the new coordination structure is the outcome of the 1st EFA coordination meeting in sub-Saharan Africa that took place in Johannesburg, South Africa on 16-19 October 2012. The 35 participating countries agreed on the definition of its objective, its composition, its scope of action and its functioning methods.
African Member States and EFA partners agreed on a two-tier coordination mechanism aligned with existing intergovernmental structures, the AU COMEDAF (Conference of Ministers of Education of the African Union) at the continental/regional level and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) at the sub-regional level.
UNESCO serves as co-chair of this regional coordination committee with the African Union Commission, and is also appointed to the Secretariat. For practical purposes, the EFA Coordination Committee will be composed by an executive group that includes UNESCO, UNICEF, ADEA, ANCEFA, FAWE, Save the Children and CONFEMEN.
At the sub-regional level, UNESCO’s Field Offices will head the EFA coordination mechanism, in collaboration with the secretariats of 4 Regional Economic Communities (EAC, ECCAS, ECOWAS and SADC) – and other members to be selected on a similar basis as the regional committee.
The launch also allowed to showcase a series of successful partnerships in Senegal, namely the literacy project for girls and women in Senegal (PAJEF) and two MDG-F projects, one on culture and development and one on nutrition, health and education.