As the world celebrates the first International Day of Education on 24 January, Ambassadors at the United Nations Headquarters will launch a new advocacy initiative called the Group of Friends for Education and Lifelong Learning.
Taking the cause for education forward, the Permanent Missions of Argentina, the Czech Republic, Japan, Kenya and Norway will establish the Group of Friends, to rally political commitments for education. Together with 25 countries, the Group will strive to advocate the centrality of education for reaching the Sustainable Development Goals. This year presents a unique opportunity to highlight the key role of education for peace and development at the United Nations, as the High-level Political Forum will review the progress on achievement of the goal on education.
"Investing in quality education, especially for girls, is one of the most effective investment we can make for sustainable development," said H.E. Ms. Mona Juul, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Norway to the UN. "It’s a top priority for Norway, and we’re proud to be a consistent partner in this global effort. I encourage all to join the historic push to achieve education for all."
H.E. Mr. Martín García Moritán, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Argentina to the UN said: "Argentina believes that education must be at the heart of the global agenda. It is the transforming force that will lead citizens to become agents of change."
The first meeting of the Group of Friends will feature participation of high-level government officials, distinguished Ambassadors, key education voices and stakeholders, including the Assistant Director-General of UNESCO for Education, Mrs Stefania Giannini, and other representatives of United Nations agencies.
In anticipation of the launch of the Group, Ms Marie Paule Roudil, Director of UNESCO Office in New York and UNESCO Representative to the United Nations, points out that: “Now is the time to capitalize on the transformative power of education to eradicate poverty, counter hate speech and, prepare competent, engaging and responsible global citizens. This initiative will sustain the political commitment around education as a global priority.”
The Group will organize high-level and expert-level meetings, information sessions, and side events during key international platforms with a view to enhance advocacy and outreach on the global commitments on education. The New York-based Group of Friends will work towards increased visibility of key policy recommendations from the SDG-Education 2030 Steering Committee; this also includes those of the Brussels Declaration, adopted at the recent Global Education Meeting, through targeted outreach efforts.