ICAE and Post-2015: Good practices for advocacy

Issue 3/2014

Maria Graciela Cuervo, Irene Lobo Moltó – ICAE


Article Index:



The International Council for Adult Education, ICAE is a global network with a mandate to advocate for youth and adult learning and education (ALE) as a universal human right.
It was created in 1973 and has 7 regional bodies (Africa, Arab Region, Asia, Caribbean, Europe, Latin America and North America) representing more than 800 NGOs – regional, national and sectoral networks – in more than 75 countries.ICAE has a long trajectory participating in global processes related to adult learning and education (ALE), and beyond. Since its beginnings, there was explicit recognition among its members that addressing the needs of the populace through adult education takes an interlinkage approach and collaboration across all sectors (Hall, 1995). This is why major world issues such as the environment, gender equity, indigenous knowledge, literacy and others also shaped the agenda of the ICAE (Boucouvalas, 2002).

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.

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The way forward in the setting of the Sustainable Development Goals

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: oficina@icae.org.uy

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Seminario virtual: la participación de las y los jóvenes en la Agenda de Desarrollo Post-2015


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Ver video de la Campaña por el Derecho a la Educación para Todos y Todas, Hoy y Post-2015 aquí

Más información aquí


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Education: a Key Driver for Peaceful, Equitable and Sustainable Development


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DECLARACION CONJUNTA DE LA SOCIEDAD CIVIL: El derecho humano a la educación en la agenda para el desarrollo post-2015




Ver documento completo aquí

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ICAE INVITES / The Right to Education in the Post-2015 Development Agenda

We are please to invite you to The Right to Education in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, an event organised by the Global Campaign for Education (GCE), the International Council for Adult Education (ICAE) and Education International, together with civil society allies, on 24th September 2013, between 1:00pm-2:30pm at Open Society Foundation 224 West 57th Street, New York.


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