By Pauline Rose, director of the Education for All Global Monitoring Report
In his speech to the General Assembly this week, the United Nations secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, presented his action agenda for the next five years. His speech highlighted many important priorities both in the final push to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, and to promote sustainable development goals beyond 2015.
Education features in three important ways in his speech:
- As an area where progress has been made on the MDGs: “We have seen dramatic progress in a short time: More effective disease control. More children in primary education. Significant reductions in global poverty.”
- As one of priorities leading up to 2015: “We are also preparing to empower future generations by offering quality, relevant and universal education to meet the challenges of the 21st century.”
- As an area that deserves attention beyond 2015: ‘We will deepen our youth focus and develop an action plan across the full range of UN programmes, including employment, entrepreneurship, political participation, human rights, education and reproductive health.”
The secretary-general’s speech called for forging a consensus on a new generation of sustainable development goals after 2015, building on the Millennium Development Goals. As I noted in my new year’s blog, education needs to maintain a central position in the global development architecture beyond 2015. Equitable learning supports sustainable development in a variety of ways. It improves health and livelihoods, empowers women and other vulnerable groups, promotes democracy, boosts economic growth and reduces poverty, and helps to lock in these gains for generations to come. Evidence presented in future Global Monitoring Reports will need to support policymakers in making the case for education as agreement is sought over the coming two years on post-2015 development goals.
Photo: Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, presenting his action plan for the next five years to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday. (Photo: Mark Garten/UN)