“Capacity development will be one of the keys to the realization of the 2030 Agenda”, said UNESCO’s Director-General Irina Bokova at a high-level Ministerial Breakfast Meeting held at the Organization’s Headquarters, Paris on 6 November.
The meeting, a side-event to the 38th UNESCO General Conference, gathered some 80 participants, including 16 Ministers of State, and provided an informal platform for dialogue between beneficiary countries and donor countries, among others, on the work of UNESCO’s decade-long Capacity Development for Education for All (CapEFA) programme.
In her opening remarks, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said the meeting was timely coming so soon after the adoption of the Education 2030 Framework for Action. She said: “Thanks to your efforts, CapEFA is the success it is today. The programme draws on more than ten years of action on the ground, helping countries implement reforms, to build quality, inclusive and equitable education systems.”
Since its creation in 2003 the CapEFA Programme has provided support to more than 40 countries in implementing reforms and building quality, inclusive and equitable education systems. The programme is uniquely positioned to support countries in operationalizing the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goal 4 on quality education.
H.E. Dr Hang Chuon Naron, Cambodia and H.E. Mr Maker Mwangu Famba, Democratic Republic of the Congo gave keynote speeches describing how the programme had helped their countries to address capacity gaps and to mobilize funds to national priority areas of the education sector. The Minister of Cambodia stressed the importance of literacy classes to meet the needs of the labour market and provide relevant skills for life. Speaking on behalf of the donor group, H.E. Mr Torbjørn, Norway stressed that: “Financing alone is not enough to take us where we want to be by 2030. Capacity development and robust education systems are needed to deliver quality education on the ground and to sustain what has been achieved”.
The event was an opportunity to present key findings and recommendations of the final external evaluation of CapEFA. Mr Fabrice Henard, evaluation team leader from Icon Institute, or participants to reflect on the way forward and on how to best position the Programme in the post-2015 agenda. He suggested improving knowledge-sharing among countries to better replicate best practices and implementation strategies, and increasing the focus on data collection and monitoring instruments.
Participants then engaged in an informal exchange of ideas and experiences on the future of CapEFA and the main challenges faced in terms of capacity needs to achieve future education goals. Assistant Director-General for Education Qian Tang concluded the meeting highlighting that UNESCO is giving increased importance to capacity development in its response to Education 2030 and that the CapEFA Programme will be at the centre of this work and a model to scale-up.