The Buenos Aires Declaration enshrines agreements on educational priorities for Latin America and the Caribbean with a view to 2030

  • Aware of the fact that inequality is the greatest challenge for socioeconomic development in the region, the Ministers of Education of Latin America and the Caribbean stated in their declaration that the Education 2030 Agenda shall contribute to eliminating poverty, reducing inequalities and caring for the environment, through inclusive, quality education and lifelong learning.
  • The authorities agreed on the necessary regional coordination mechanisms to achieve the educational goals. They recognized the urgent need to carry out further changes, which would entail a new outlook on education, learning, teaching, policies and actions in the region.

The ministers in the Buenos Aires meeting. Photo: UNESCO/Carolina Jerez

1.02.2017 -On 25 January 2017, within the framework of the Meeting of Ministers of Education of Latin America and the Caribbean “E2030: Education and Skills for the 21st century”, the highest education authorities of Latin America and the Caribbean adopted the Buenos Aires Declaration.  The meeting was organized by the Argentine education authorities and the Regional Bureau for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (OREALC/UNESCO Santiago) and chaired by Argentina’s Minister of Education and Sports, Esteban Bullrich.

In the above document, made public on 1 February 2017, the Ministers acknowledge progress in the region’s education systems and –based on the Lima (2014) and Incheon (2015) Declarations-, they reaffirm education as an essential right for realizing other rights, a catalyst of sustainable development and an instrument for fulfilling the other sustainable development goals by 2030.

In the agreed declaration, the authorities confirm their commitment to education and lifelong learning, from early childhood through to higher and adult education. Furthermore, the document highlights multiculturalism and multilingualism as characteristics of the region and urges the States to develop their own approaches that reinforce the diversity of their peoples, thus promoting more inclusive societies.  This vision includes the development of better responses to ensure the rights and meet the needs of migrants and refugees.

Likewise, the authorities committed to strengthening evaluation and monitoring mechanisms under Sustainable Development Goal No. 4 (“Ensure inclusive, equitable and quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”), considering each country’s context and circumstances, with a special focus on the school environment.

Photo: UNESCO/Carolina Jerez

More specifically, government representatives committed to expanding early childhood care and development programmes, prioritizing marginalized and/or excluded groups. They affirmed that the Education 2030 Agenda shall ensure that all girls and boys complete primary and secondary schooling, and this schooling must be free, equitable and of quality.

“The educational system requires a profound change. Someone who cannot build his/her own thoughts based on reading and shape his/her own ideas is not a free man or woman in this 21st century. We want youths to lead independent, free and full lives, in our country and worldwide. This is the focus of the required educational revolution, not only in Argentina but across the world”, stated the Minister of Education and Sports of Argentina, Esteban Bullrich –host of the meeting- when referring to the adoption of the Buenos Aires Declaration.

Among other topics, participants agreed on “advocating for the strengthening of public education as a guarantor for building democracy and fairer societies”; and “maintaining, optimizing and –if possible- increasing funding for education” in their countries. The above includes strengthening initial and continuous teachers’ training and the working conditions of educational professionals.

Cecilia Barbieri, Director a.i., Regional Bureau for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (OREALC/UNESCO Santiago) stated that “this dialogue and decision-making forum provides Latin America with its own shared vision of the Education 2030 Agenda to thus give rise to strategies and programmes in pursuit of these goals at the national and regional levels for the period 2017-2030.

In the last session, a call was made upon participants to achieve greater coordination and convergence of regional agendas, with a view to greater efficiency and effectiveness.  In this regard, a Secretariat of the Education 2030 Committee was set up and will be headed by the Regional Bureau for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (OREALC/UNESCO Santiago), with the participation of the countries representing the region on the E2030 Steering Committee (Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina), as well as a representative of a Caribbean country, and also a representative of civil society and other education sector partners.

The Regional Meeting of Ministers of Education of Latin America and the Caribbean is the first to be held after the adoption of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda agreed upon in September 2015. The first step to follow up on the Buenos Aires Declaration will be the development of a regional road map to be prepared in forthcoming months.


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