Education Cannot Wait Holds High Level Steering Group Meeting
In the margins of the 71st UN General Assembly on 19 September 2016, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova attended the High Level Steering Group Meeting of Education Cannot Wait, to take stock of work achieved since its launch at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul last May and to discuss initial investment proposals.
The Initiative aims to bridge the humanitarian to development divide by inspiring political commitment, generating additional funding, strengthening capacity to respond to crisis and improving accountability. The Initiative is currently chaired by the Special Envoy for Global Education, Mr Gordon Brown.
The Steering Group shared views on a set of early investment proposals prepared by a Task Team over the past three months.
The Director-General reaffirmed UNESCO’s support for the Initiative, underscoring the importance of linking its work with existing mechanisms for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 4. She encouraged a broad vision of education, encompassing children, youth in a lifelong learning perspective, with attention to second chance opportunities. Steering Group members also stressed the importance of communications and advocacy, an inclusive consultation process, including with operational actors at country level, and specific ‘asks’ to the private sector to respond to companies that have stepped forward in favour of support to the Initiative.
Days away from the opening of classes for the new school year, Lebanon’s Minister of Education, Mr Elias Bou Saab stressed the urgency of increased resources to open double shift schools and provide non-formal education.
“We need funding, we need to open additional schools and we need to convince parents of the importance of sending their children to school, not to work.”
He also stressed the need for stable funding: “Putting children in school is one challenge; keeping them there is another. We need commitments for more than one year.”
The Steering Group Committee includes several UN agency principals, donor representatives (EU, Canada, UK, USA), Global Partnership for Education and civil society. The ECW Secretariat is hosted by UNICEF.
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