His Excellency Ban Ki-moon
January 8, 2015
Dear Ban Ki Moon,
I am writing on behalf of the International Council for Adult Education to welcome the broad and inclusive process you have led in working towards the Sustainable Development Goals to be agreed in September 2015, and to express the strongest disappointment that the key role adult learning plays in development and the eradication of poverty has been omitted from your latest synthesis report.
One of the weaknesses of the Millennium Development Goals was their lack of articulation with the Education for All targets agreed in Dakar in 2000. The EFA targets addressed the learning needs of all – from early childhood care and education through to the needs of adults in later life, and whilst the MDGs drew on EFA for the universal primary education and gender equality goals, they had the effect of marginalising all other EFA goals, as development partners prioritised universal primary education in particular. The major casualty of this was adult literacy rates, where after twenty five years of international commitments there are still 750 million adults who are illiterate. 64% of them are women – exactly the same percentage as at Jomtien in 1990 when global EFA targets were first adopted. But as you have recognised the quality of teaching and the supply of adequately trained teachers also suffered, and developments in early years, work with disabled adults, provision for labour market entry and for education for people outside the waged labour force were also affected.
These unintended consequence of the Millennium Development Goals were recognised in the Dakar Consultation on education that preceded the High Level Panel’s report, and led to the very welcome proposal for the target for education to include lifelong learning. That understanding was enshrined in the Muscat Agreement of the Education For All Steering Committee and in the work of the Open Working Group. Whilst we believe strongly that the Muscat Agreement proposal for ‘Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all’ is more powerful than the OWG formulation, both maintain a commitment to education through the life course – enabling policy makers to focus on the unacceptable marginalisation of women and men without literacy on the one hand, but also to include the challenges faced by industrial states – for whom the SDGs are also aimed.
Yet in your synthesis report there is a narrow focus on the learning needs of children and adolescents, and the report is silent on the learning needs of adults. So in para 69 you declare that ‘all children and adolescents have a right to education and must have a safe environment in which to learn.’ But the human right to education also includes the rights of all those previously denied opportunities, and they too need safe environments for learning. Without them, it is hard to see how the gender equality the report aspires to can be achieved.
Again in para 71 you state, ‘…It is essential that young people receive relevant skills and high-quality education and life-long learning, from early childhood to post-primary schooling, including life skills and vocational education and training, as well as science, sports and culture. Teachers must be given the means to deliver learning and knowledge in response to a safe global workplace, driven by technology.’ Whilst the aspirations for young people and children outlined here are welcome, the paragraph seriously distorts the meaning and scope of lifelong learning, to exclude all focus on adults, and needs to be amended if the consultative process of the last four years is to be honoured.
However, the case for focusing on the learning needs of adults is even more important when you synthesis the work of all the different strands of the development process. For strategies to improve sanitation and secure clean water to be effective, adults need to be engaged in understanding change, adapting to it, and helping to shape it. The same is true when measures to reduce infant mortality, and improve maternal health are developed. And changing ways of living to improve sustainability can only work when adults learn to make the adaptations necessary. Indeed, across the development agenda, adult learning is an essential pre-requisite for success that is owned by the communities affected. That of course is the reason for our call for universal adult literacy to be at the core of the SDGs, and to be a key target within the education goal.
We trust that it is not too late for the amendments we seek to be adopted. We are confident that the World Education Forum in Incheon will endorse a lifelong, life-wide agenda, and would welcome your support in ensuring that its conclusions help shape member states’ commitments this September.
On behalf of our members and networks on all continents.
The UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service and UN DESA Division for Sustainable Development, have invited civil society stakeholders to submit their official responses to the report and it is essential that you submit your comments through the online form that is in this link:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1U97gmcy-KGsu66-lVi1cHU7R-C_B4y6u0AbFtua2zE4/viewform (to have access to the form press CTRL + Click)
Camilla Croso (GCE) virtual intervention on EFA and the Post-2015 Development Agenda
IALLA VII, Jordan, October 2014
Roberto Bissio (Social Watch) virtual intervention on the Post-2015 Development Agenda
IALLA VII, Jordan, October 2014
Maria Graciela Cuervo, Irene Lobo Moltó – ICAE
During the last decade of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st, ICAE participated in the main conferences aimed at raising the world’s consciousness on key international issues including: The World Conference on Education for All: Meeting Basic Learning Needs, held in Jomtien in 1990; United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), Rio de Janeiro 1992; UN Millennium Summit on development and eradication of poverty in New York, 2000; World Conference Against Racism (WCAR), Durban 2001, and many others. Later on, ICAE also engaged in the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), also known as Rio+20.
ICAE engages in these issues confident in that lifelong learning has the capacity to positively affect many dimensions of poverty, peace, reconciliation as well as conflict prevention. Adult education creates change, enhancing people’s prospect for decent work, community organizing, improving health conditions, as well as enabling people to acquire the tools needed to run their own lives. (EAEA et.al., 2012)
However there is often lack of recognition of the benefits of education, in particular related with non-formal adult education, when looking at development goals. This is why ICAE considers international and regional spaces of policy and decision-making as the main target for advocacy work. In the words of Prof. Gita Sen, advocacy is the art of “friendly persuasion”:
“You are just persuading people, and I use the world “friendly” because if it’s not friendly, it’s not advocacy, it is combat, it is war. You may disagree, but you have to get the person who you are trying to persuade to feel that it is worthwhile to move in a certain direction. Persuasion is necessary as well because we have to get people to come onto our side. And this is what the art and the politics of advocacy is all about.” (Sen, 2008)
ICAE’s advocacy strategies for the presence of adult education in development include promoting Adult Education at policy level; engaging learners’ voices; and developing specific strategies based in the context: “one shoe does not fit all”.
In this short piece, we will give special focus to the advocacy work on ALE and lifelong learning in the UN sustainable development agenda, and UNESCO Education For All (EFA) agenda.
As you know the Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals completed its work on 19 July 2014, presenting a proposal with 17 Goals and 169 targets. This document will be transmitted to the 69th General Assembly September 2014 for appropriate action. The OWG proposal will feed the UN Secretary-General synthesis report that is likely to come out by the end of the year. Other inputs will be the report of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing, as well as all other inputs available later in the year.
During August and September, key events will take place considered as key spaces for civil society advocacy in the sustainable development agenda post-2015. There are:
Interactive Meeting with Civil Society for the High-level Stocktaking Event on the Post-2015 Development Agenda: Contributions to the Secretary-General’s Synthesis Report
26 August 2014, UN Headquarters New York City, US
H.E. John W. Ashe, the President of the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly will hold an interactive meeting with civil society on Tuesday, 26 August 2014 from 1:15 – 2:30 p.m. in the Trusteeship Council Chamber at UN Headquarters, NY. The meeting will provide representatives of civil society, including NGOs, the media, the private sector and other relevant stakeholders with the opportunity to reflect upon the various post-2015 development-related processes which have occurred during the current session of the General Assembly with a view to providing them with a chance to identify possible inputs to the Synthesis Report of the Secretary-General; to the work of the 69th session of the General Assembly; and to the elaboration of the Post-2015 Development Agenda itself. A summary of the discussion will be produced for use by the President of the General Assembly in preparation for the Stocktaking Event.
UNGA High-level Stocktaking Event on the Post-2015 Development Agenda: Contributions to the Secretary-General’s Synthesis Report
11-12 September 2014, UN Headquarters New York City, US
The President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), John Ashe, is convening a High-level Stocktaking Event on the Post-2015 Development Agenda on ‘Contributions to the Secretary-General’s Synthesis Report.’ The provisional programme is available, as well as an updated concept note.
** At the request of the Office of the President of the General Assembly (OPGA), the UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) has set up an online form for civil society organizations to submit written comments by Friday, 22 August. **
65th Annual UN DPI/NGO Conference
27-29 August 2014, UN Headquarters New York City, US
The 65th UN DPI/NGO Conference is titled ‘2015 and Beyond: Our Action Agenda,’ is being organized by the UN Department of Public Information and the NGO/DPI Executive Committee, and will focus on the theme of ‘The role of civil society in the post 2015 development agenda’. The event seeks to provide an opportunity for civil society networks and activists to mobilize messaging, advocacy strategies, partnerships and accountability frameworks in the lead up to the start of the intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda. The outcome of the conference will be a declaration that will be shared with the UN system, the UN Member States, the global civil society and other stakeholders.
** An important outcome for the conference will be a conference declaration. A draft will be circulated shortly for contributions from civil society. **
If your planning to attend this meeting and/or need more information on the post-2015 related events please contact us! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ver video de la Campaña por el Derecho a la Educación para Todos y Todas, Hoy y Post-2015 aquí
Más información aquí