» Nine most populous countries sign Dhaka Declaration on Education 2030 cooperation
09.02.2017 - Education Sector

Nine most populous countries sign Dhaka Declaration on Education 2030 cooperation

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Representatives from the world’s nine most populous countries adopted and signed a joint declaration recasting their partnership to cooperate more tightly on Education 2030.

The declaration was the culmination of the E-9 Ministerial Meeting, Education 2030 Inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning by 2030: Challenges and opportunities for E-9 countries, which took place in Dhaka, Bangladesh from 5-7 February 2017. 

The meeting is the first by the nine countries who make up the E-9 Initiative within the new education agenda and reaffirms their endorsement of the vision, principles, and targets laid out in Sustainable Development Goal 4. The countries - Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria and Pakistan – are home to over half of the world’s population, two-thirds of the world’s illiterate adults and nearly one-half of the world’s out-of-school children and youth.

Together they represent some of the largest education systems in the world and thus play an important role in pushing the progress of the global education agenda. 

The meeting, opened in the presence of UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina, explored ways to meet new education challenges and opportunities in a fast-changing development context.

The declaration commits the nine countries to technical cooperation on SDG-4 related themes such as out-of-school children, Early Childhood Care and Education, Information and Communication Technology in education, joint monitoring of progress towards SDG4 targets and commitments, joint advocacy and work to increase government funding for education.

Welcoming its adoption UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education Mr Qian Tang said: “The action oriented Dhaka Declaration represents renewed political commitment at the highest levels and a revitalization of the E9 partnership which augurs well for achieving the SDG4-Education 2030 targets”  

Ground-breaking progress

Addressing the meeting, Ms Bokova congratulated Bangladesh on being one of the developing world’s success stories as one of the few low-income countries to have more girls in school than boys.

She said the world had changed since the launch of the E-9 Initiative 24 years ago but its work was as vital as ever.

“We have seen ground-breaking progress across all E-9 countries, and there is rich experience to share on how education has been integrated with overall development. We know also how much work remains ahead. Progress through the E-9 Initiative can catalyse progress for the world,” said Ms Bokova.

“This calls for a new spirit of partnership -- to learn from each other and craft more effective strategies to improve learning opportunities for all -- to lead joint action in key areas like girls’ and women’s education, youth and adult literacy, and vocational skills -- to strengthen quality through learning assessments, monitoring and review.”

Historic commitment of Member States

The event included the handing over of the E-9 chairmanship by Minister Muhammad Baligh Ur Rehman of Pakistan to Bangladesh. He noted that as Chair, Pakistan had conducted joint advocacy for education, with emphasis on literacy, primary education and increased development assistance. Stating that the “E9 is a historic commitment of Member States,” he stressed the need to “leapfrog” ahead through “smart and more collaborative” efforts.

Assuming the Chairmanship, Minister Nurul Islam Nahid of Bangladesh outlined the challenges ahead and underscored the political and social responsibility to create momentum around the E-9 network to push forward on SDG4-Education 2030.

Launched in 1993, the E-9 Initiative is a networking platform to share experiences in educational policy, exchange best practices and monitor progress. UNESCO is the Secretariat for this Initiative and supports the coordination of the network, which has a rotating two-year chairmanship.

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