By María Graciela Cuervo – ICAE
From 17 to 19 April, 2013, the Government of Mexico organized a regional consultation with representatives of civil society in Latin America and the Caribbean on the post-2015 development agenda. About 400 representatives of civil society, the academia, indigenous peoples and the private sector from 24 countries of the region gathered at the conference “Realizing the future we want in Latin America and the Caribbean: Towards a post-2015 development agenda”, held in Guadalajara, Jalisco.
The consultations were supported by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the High Level Panel, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the government of Jalisco, Mexico.
The methodology of the meeting consisted of plenary sessions, thematic working groups and thematic panels. All working groups – private sector, the academia, indigenous peoples, civil society and agreement groups – addressed the eleven key issues that were then led to discussion panels held on 18 and 19 April.
The discussions focused on: food and nutrition security, and health; governance, security, access to justice and human rights; sustainability as a crosscutting element in development; employment and occupation; gaps of inequality; international migration as a component of the international development agenda; prevention and integrated risk management; the right to Education; consistency, convergence and coordination between international organizations, agencies and funding; and finally, methodology, monitoring, citizen participation, measuring and reporting on the implementation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
Working Group on Education
The Civil Society Working Group on Education was composed of international and regional organizations such as ICAE, CEAAL and CLADE, as well as of national organizations, mostly Mexican. There was great fluidity in the work of the group, thanks to the prior coordination of most of the organizations participating in the preparation of joint statement: LIFELONG EDUCATION AND LEARNING AS A RIGHT IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN IN THE POST-2015 AGENDA. (See below)
This statement, which has the support of over 30 organizations in the region, was based on the contributions of the International Civil Society Forum – FISC for CONFINTEA VI. Its wording was supported by a diverse number of organizations, especially those that compose the WG on Education*. Thereby our position and recommendations were widely agreed on when getting to Guadalajara, and our efforts focused on spreading the message to other working groups and obtaining more support to the statement.
Anyway, a document with specific recommendations that came out of the discussions of the group was prepared, which was presented in our panel on Friday, April 19, along with recommendations from the academic and private sectors, the indigenous and agreement groups (See below: THE RIGHT TO EDUCATION). All recommendations in this and other panels were included in the draft outcome document of the conference, entitled “Recommendations of Guadalajara”.
Besides the possibility to articulate and promote the right to lifelong education and learning with Latin American and Caribbean organizations and networks, this meeting allowed the ICAE to strengthen alliances and contacts with key people for the post-2015 consultation process. We participated in informal meetings with Ambassador Patricia Espinoza of the High Level Panel of Eminent Persons (HLP), Lysa John, Head of outreach with the HLP, and Rosa Lizarde with the GCAP Feminist Working Group.
• The group on education was always very well coordinated and sure that we wanted to advocate for the human right to lifelong education as a priority for the current agenda and the post-2015 agenda, and for the need of public, free and quality education.
• In general, civil society and other groups discussed the importance of education beyond schooling and basic level.
In this sense, even the ambassador Espinoza said at our meeting that she was aware that “Lifelong Learning” had to be part of the overall framework in which the new development goals should be built. Unfortunately, this was not mentioned in her final conclusions to the plenary.
• The importance of consultations was questioned, and of this particular one, before Ambassador Espinoza, who insisted that the process of negotiation of the HLP report had not begun and that the result of this and all consultations would be taken into account for the report.
• Representatives of the High Level Panel insisted that the real work will be the elaboration of an agenda with specific national actions, and in that sense, ambassador Espinoza said the process is just beginning and civil society needs to start focusing in goals both for their countries and general.
• Finally, the importance of integrating the post-2015 MDGs agenda with the elaboration of Sustainable Development Goals was stressed, but there was no meaningful dialogue about this.
*WG on Education: https://educationpost2015icae.wordpress.com/wg-education/
Versión en español
Read more: Voices Rising Nº442