‘Towards Collective Action in Achieving Education 2030 Goal in the Arab Region’
After extensive broad consultative process and on the basis of analyses of MDG performance and emerging challenges confronting the world, the international community adopted the new development agenda at the UN General Assembly in September 2015: Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
On the education front, equally extensive, highly participatory consultative process culminated in the adoption at the World Education Forum (WEF 2015) in Incheon, Republic of Korea in May, of the Incheon Declaration calling for a universal and transformative agenda central to sustainable development: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all. The post-EFA goal, now referred to as the SDG 4, responds to the ‘unfinished business’ of the EFA agenda and the education-related MDGs, and addresses new global and national education challenges. The new Education 2030 agenda is inspired by a humanistic vision of education and development based on human rights and dignity, social justice, protection, cultural diversity, and shared responsibility and accountability. It is underpinned by the principle that education is a public good, a fundamental human right and a basis for guaranteeing the realization of other rights. It is essential for peace, human fulfillment and sustainable development.
In order to operationalize the Education 2030 agenda, the Framework for Action (FFA) was unanimously adopted at the High-Level Meeting held in Paris, France on 4 November, as part of the 38th General Conference of UNESCO. It is fully aligned to the outcomes of the United Nations Summit for the adoption of the SDG agenda, so as to ensure a single education agenda for 2015-2030. This requires continued strong engagement and support of governments and all other education partners to ensure that the future education agenda is holistic and transformative, and that its targets are achievable and measurable. The key message that has been communicating to Member States and all stakeholders involved is: Sustainable Development begins with education. At the same time, the Sustainable Development Goals are interconnected and linked with one another. Therefore, the role of education in transforming the world by 2030 is well articulated in the Agenda.
In the Arab region, all Member States have been actively participating in this global process, first by reflecting on the EFA achievements, challenges and recommendations. In order to collectively examine the status of EFA achievements and recommendations from regional perspectives, Ministers of Education, senior technical officials and regional and international development partners met in January 2015 at the Arab Regional Conference on Education Post-2015 and agreed on the key messages of the region beyond 2015 EFA, known as the Sharm El Shiekh Statement. These regional perspectives effectively informed the global agenda of education. With the Statement in mind, the Arab region took part in the WEF 2015 to voice their perspectives and priorities and contribute to reaching consensus on the world we want through quality education and lifelong learning for all.
With the adoption of the SDG and Education 2030 Framework for Action (FFA), it is time for Arab Member States to once again reaffirm centrality of education in sustainable development, internalize the FFA and most importantly, discuss and agree on a roadmap for operationalizing the Agenda in the region. It is against this backdrop that under the auspice of His Excellency Minister of Education, Arab Republic of Egypt, UNESCO will organize 1st Arab Regional Meeting on Education 2030 (AMED2030 I) under the theme of ‘Towards Collective Action in Achieving Education 2030 Goal in the Arab Region’ on 15 and 16 December in Cairo, Egypt.