Education vital for achieving all other development goals, Ban tells Doha forum

30 November 2008 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged participants at a global finance meeting in Doha to ensure that all children receive the education they need, without which countries will not be able to achieve their development targets.

“It is, in short, the lifeblood for a nation's future economic growth and prosperity,” Mr. Ban told a high-level event focusing on financing to achieve “education for all” – the pledge made by world leaders in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, in 1999.

Mr. Ban said that education at every age plays an empowering and essential role in reducing poverty and building better livelihoods. It promotes innovation, communication and mutual understanding.

In addition to being one of the eight anti-poverty targets with a 2015 deadline known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), education can also be a catalyst for progress towards other goals, such as public health and gender equality. “The Millennium Development Goals cannot be achieved without education,” he stressed.

The Secretary-General said a major concern right now is the impact of the current financial crisis on the development gains in education made since 2000, particularly for the most vulnerable.

He noted that 75 million children around the world have no access to education, and millions more in poor communities are receiving only a very basic education.

And in areas of conflict, a child continuously prevented from attending school is too often the rule, not the exception, he added.

At the UN High-Level Event on the MDGs held in New York in September, world leaders and partners made significant financial pledges to improve health, education and access to clean water and sanitation. “Coming in the midst of financial turmoil, this was an encouraging display,” said Mr. Ban.

“We must maintain this momentum,” he stated. “By ensuring that all children get the education they deserve, we can put both individuals and countries on a sure footing toward a more stable and fulfilling future.”

Ensuring sufficient financing to meet key development goals amid mounting concern about the impact of the current global economic slowdown on poor nations is the focus of the four-day conference that began in the Qatari capital yesterday.


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