» International community calls on UNESCO to lead efforts towards a literate world for all
08.11.2016 - Education Sector

International community calls on UNESCO to lead efforts towards a literate world for all


On 3 November in New York, the United Nations General Assembly adopted with consensus its resolution on literacy: ‘Literacy for life; shaping future agendas’ (A/C3/71/L9/Rev1).

Sponsored by 101 Member States, the UN resolution on Literacy was an effort to continue the legacy of the United Nations Literacy Decade (UNLD) in the global aspiration that ‘all youth and a substantial proportion of adults achieved literacy and numeracy by 2030’.

It recognized the importance of being literate in the twenty-first century’s knowledge-societies and economies and promoted access to education and lifelong learning for all worldwide.

The representative of Mongolia presented the resolution describing UNESCO as the carrier of “(…) a catalytic and coordinating role in supporting Member States’ efforts to create a more literate world.”

The International community requested UNESCO to continue its coordinating and catalyzing role in the areas of education and promotion of literacy, both through the Global Alliance for Literacy (GAL), the UNESCO Global Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education and UNESCO’s Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC).

The resolution also called upon Governments to scale up literacy programmes, recognizing literacy as the foundation for lifelong learning and the need to persistently and evenly implement national programmes and measures to meet the diverse learning needs through innovation; technology; partnerships and cross-sectoral approaches.

Continuous gender gap in education

The resolution expressed deep concern for the 758 million adults worldwide lacking basic literacy skills and the 124 million children remaining out of school, especially girls and women and rural communities.  

The persisting gender gap in education, resulting in that nearly two thirds of the world’s non-literate adults are women, made the resolution recall the International Conference on Girl’s and Women’s Literacy and Education and affirmed that the realization of the right to education, especially for girls, contributes to the promotion of human rights, gender equality, development and diminishment of poverty.

Other concerns were the disrupted educational services in humanitarian urgencies and the low literacy rates among children and adults with disabilities.   

To meet these challenges, the General Assembly recognized the need for substantial investments and smart use of strategic partnerships to improve quality education, and referred to the  recommendations of the International Commission on the Financing of Global Education Opportunities.

UN-Secretary General, in cooperation with the Director General of UNESCO, will submit a report on the implementation of the present resolution to the General Assembly at its 73rd session.

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