Director-General attends the 3rd Global Education First Initiative Steering Committee meeting in Rome
The Director-General of UNESCO attended today the 3rd Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) Steering Committee meeting in Rome. The GEFI High-level Steering Committee is the advisory body that provides strategic direction for the Initiative established in 2012 by the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-moon.
The 3rd meeting was an occasion to bolster momentum on acceleration efforts on education goals and targets before 2015 and to reaffirm commitments to maintain education as a priority in the global development, social and financing agendas among the partners of GEFI.
In his opening remarks, the Secretary-General thanked the Director-General for her leadership in pushing the Initiative and UNESCO for hosting its Secretariat. He also underscored that the strength and comparative advantage of GEFI lies in its multi-stakeholder partnership and the deep engagement of all partners.
As Executive Secretary of the Steering Committee, the Director-General provided an update to the members on the latest developments for GEFI since the previous meeting held in April 2014. She highlighted the increasing high-level political support for the initiative with Andorra, Ethiopia and the United States recently joining the Group of Champion Countries.
In her intervention on education in the Post-2015 development agenda, the Director-General stated that the agenda should be rights-based, aspirational and transformative. She also said that it should reflect an equity and inclusion perspective with particular attention to gender equality while focusing on learning outcomes through attention to quality at all levels.
All speakers recalled the need to focus on quality education and targeting marginalized groups particularly girls and women in rural areas as well as children in conflict and conflict affected situations. They also reinforced the call for a standalone goal in a transformative agenda by raising the ambitions higher beyond primary education.
The meeting, which was chaired by the Secretary-General, was attended in person by Ms Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator, Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, UNFPA Executive Director, Ms Saraswathi Menon, UN- Women Director for Policy, and Ms Alice Albright, CEO of the Global Partnership for Education. Mr Shieferaw Shigutie, Minister of Education of Ethiopia, and Ambassador Nathalia Feinberg of Denmark, Head of Development Policy and Global Cooperation Department represented the GEFI Champion Countries. Connecting through teleconferencing were GEFI Youth Advocacy Group Coordinator, Mr Chernoh Bah, as well as representatives of the World Bank, UNICEF, and the Education International and Global Campaign for Education.
Prior to that meeting, the Director-General participated in the Committee of Co-Sponsoring Organizations of UNAIDS which covered issues related to the Post-2015 sustainable development agenda and the strategy and budget of UNAIDS for the next six years.
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