Director-General Joins Partners in Davos to launch “Nourishing Bodies, Nourishing Minds”

In a bid to improve access to health care, nutrition and education for the world’s most underserved children, UNESCO is joining forces with the World Food Programme, UNICEF and the private sector to launch a three-year partnership, “Nourishing Bodies, Nourishing Minds,” at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on 24 January 2013.

This partnership comes in direct support to the UN Secretary-General’s Global Education First Initiative aimed at galvanizing renewed international action to meet the education goals. It seeks to improve child well-being through school health and nutrition programmes, to expand access to early childhood care and education programmes, to increase girls’ enrolment, to support adolescent girls, and to build school environments that are conducive to learning. Collaboration is expected to begin in Haiti, Mozambique, Niger and Pakistan.

The Director-General will emphasize that education, health and well-being are the foundations for building resilience – this is the core theme of this year’s World Economic Forum that is gathering over 2,500 participants, including some 50 Heads of State and Government. In calling for a ‘big push’ from governments, civil society and the private sector to meet commitments made in 2000, Irina Bokova will underline that “access, quality and equity have to be put on the same line for a breakthrough to happen,” highlighting the need to build synergies between education and health.

During the World Economic Forum, the Director-General will attend several high-profile sessions on the global development outlook and the post-2015 agenda, as well as on urban development and bolstering ocean resilience.  Across the board, she will stress that poverty alleviation, the reduction of inequalities and the protection of our planet must be at the heart of a bold and ambitious development agenda.

“Resilient Dynamism, the theme of this year’s Forum, is about adapting to a highly fragile and uncertain environment, and having the capacity for bold vision and action,” says the Director-General. “For this, people have to be in a position to choose and shape their future. Education empowers people and communities with the knowledge and skills they need to better their lives. Culture holds the potential to make our societies more resilient and prosperous. Gender equality makes them more just and inclusive. Stronger links between science and policy are key to harnessing innovation and addressing the challenges we face, from environmental to social and economic. We have to come together around fundamental rights and development drivers, in a spirit of global citizenship and partnership.”