UN Agencies to Step Up Coordination and Action to Meet Education Goals
Expressing concern over the slow rate of progress towards Education for All, UN Principals and senior representatives from UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA, the World Bank, UN Women and the EFA-Fast Track Initiative discussed how to scale up efforts to achieve the goals by 2015, during a private meeting hosted by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova in New York on 18 September 2011.
Equity, they affirmed, must be a primary goal in order to ensure that the most disadvantaged children and youth get into school. They noted that too many children and youth are leaving school without adequate skills to secure decent jobs, emphasizing the need to increase attention on the critical area of girls’ secondary education, where progress has been far too slow.
Participants supported a proposal from UNESCO to strengthen the effectiveness of EFA coordination through increased dialogue and knowledge sharing on the national, regional and global levels. They also discussed how to best synergize the agencies’ respective efforts towards complementary goals such as health, and agreed to reinforce coordination and cooperation at the country level.
Turning to the transformations underway in the Arab region, all present agreed on the necessity of collaborative and coordinated efforts to assist the countries in the region. Quality education systems that better answer to the needs of the labour market and represent citizens will be crucial to building sustainable societies.
Expressing concern that aid to education has stagnated, participants drew attention to the forthcoming EFA-FTI Replenishment Pledging Conference, to be held in Copenhagen in November. It is crucial, they said, that the FTI (renamed Global Partnership for Education), be supported by substantial replenishment.
The private discussion was attended by UNDP Administrator Helen Clark, UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin, UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Geeta Rao Gupta, World Bank Vice President for Human Development Tamar Manuelyan Atinc, and EFA-FTI Chair Carol Bellamy.
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