Regional ministerial conference to tackle questions facing education

The meeting will convene under the theme “Key Education Challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean: Teachers, Quality, and Equity” on 12-13 May in Buenos Aires, Argentina

The event is arranged in preparation for the 2011 ECOSOC Annual Ministerial Review (AMR) to be held at UN Headquarters in Geneva in July 2011 on the theme “Implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to education”.

Themes to be discussed include: educational agenda of the LAC region; teachers, teaching and its dimensions; ICTs in Education; assessment of education quality, and equity in education. The conference will assess regional progress towards the EFA goals, highlight major obstacles impeding continued progress and explore various strategies to overcome them.

The conference is hosted by the Government of Argentina, in cooperation with the UNDESA, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Economic Commission for Latina America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). A diverse group of stakeholders consisting of governments, civil society, UN system institutions and the private sector will be brought together.

For more information:

Advancing the rights of indigenous people

The 10th Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) will take place in New York on 16-27 May

This session will be especially significant since this is the review year and since special emphasis will be placed on the implementation of UNPFII recommendations on economic and social development; the environment; and free, prior and informed consent.

Human rights issues will be addressed and the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has been invited along with the members of Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. A plenary panel will also focus on the right to water and indigenous peoples. Other events arranged include a discussion on the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples; discussion on Rio+20; and a follow up on recommendations and actions on the various studies that will be presented during the Forum.

The special regional focus will be on indigenous peoples of the Central and South America and the Caribbean region. Other special features of the session will include a discussion on the Permanent Forum’s mission to Colombia; a half-day discussion on the right to water and indigenous peoples; discussions on a number of studies completed this year by the UNPFII.

The event is expected to attract a large number of participants representing governments, the UN, other inter-governmental organizations and Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations (IPOs), NGOs and academia. So far, 1,300 participants representing organizations and academia have pre-registered.

About 50 side events will take place during the session, organized by Member States, UN entities, other intergovernmental organizations, NGOs, the Secretariat and others. There will also be a photographic exhibition on the theme indigenous peoples and water.

For more information:

Commission agrees on resolution on “Fertility, reproductive health and development”

The 44th session of the Commission on Population and Development was held in New York on 11-15 April

The work of the Commission, under the Chairmanship of Ambassador Brian Bowler, Permanent Representative of Malawi, was completed successfully with two decisions and a resolution on the session’s theme of “Fertility, reproductive health and development” being passed by consensus.

The resolution on “Fertility, reproductive health and development” provides a strong endorsement of the recommendations contained in the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Key Actions for its further implementation adopted at the 21st Special Session of the General Assembly. The resolution reaffirmed that gender equality cannot be achieved without promoting and protecting the right of women to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, including sexual and reproductive health.

The resolution urges Governments to protect and promote the full respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms regardless of age and marital status, including by eliminating all forms of discrimination against girls and women, and stressed the need to strengthen health systems and ensure that they prioritize universal access to sexual and reproductive information and health-care services, including family planning, prenatal care, safe delivery and post-natal care to eliminate preventable maternal mortality and morbidity.

The need was stressed for Governments to ensure that all women, men and young people have access to information as well as to safe, effective, affordable and acceptable methods of family planning and to give full attention to meeting the reproductive health-care service and education needs of adolescents to enable them to deal in a positive and responsible way with their sexuality.

The Commission emphasized the need to strengthen policy and programme linkages and coordination between HIV/AIDS and sexual and reproductive health and their inclusion in national development plans as well as to scale up significantly efforts to meet the goal of ensuring universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. It also called upon the international community to help Governments meet the family planning needs by increasing the financial resources needed to implement the Programme of Action.

Welcoming the General Assembly’s decision last December to extend the Programme of Action adopted in Cairo at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development beyond 2014, the Commission called on all Governments to make every effort to mobilize the required resources to ensure that its objectives were met. At the same time, the Commission reaffirmed the sovereign right of States to implement the Cairo Programme’s recommendations, in accordance with national laws and development priorities, and with full respect for religious, ethical and cultural values.

Two decisions were also adopted by the Commission. The first was the Provisional Agenda for 2012 and the second decision was that the special theme for the forty-sixth session in 2013 would be New Trends in Migration: Demographic Aspects and that the forty-seventh session in 2014 would be devoted to an Assessment of the status of implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development.

For more information:

Several countries on track to achieve education goals

The ECOSOC 2011 Annual Ministerial Review Africa Regional Meeting was held on 12 April in Lomé, Togo on the theme “The right to Education for All in Africa: Reinforcing quality and equity”

The programme was set around four main sessions on: education and the MDGs; a rights-based approach to inclusive, quality education; country experiences and best practices; and key policy messages for the 2011 ECOSOC AMR. Ministers of Education and a broad cross section of regional stakeholders discussed trends, challenges, and policies and programmes on education in Africa and their impact on the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

Among the key messages emanating from the discussion were that the situation of education in Africa is hopeful with several countries being on track to achieve universal primary education and gender equality in education by 2015. Another note was that progress in Africa remains threatened by slower economic growth, reduced public and international expenditure on education, and by the complex demands placed on systems struggling to cope with increased enrollment. Moreover, the most significant underlying causes for the current shortcomings and challenges to education in Africa are the lack of equity in the delivery of education services and the low quality of education.

Recommendations need to approach education from the perspective of a fundamental human right and focus on “including the excluded”; eliminate school fees for primary education, with additional support for the marginalized; introduce early-childhood programmes wherever possible, to give children a fair and early chance to learn; expand school feeding programmes to promote retention; and strengthen capacity to recruit and retain good teachers.

The meeting was co-organized by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs in cooperation with UNESCO, UNICEF, UNECA and in collaboration with the Government of Togo. It is part of the preparatory process for the 2011 Annual Ministerial Review on “Implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to education”.

A summary report of the meeting is being prepared and will be presented by the Education Minister of Togo at the high-level segment of ECOSOC.

For more information:

Call for quality improvements and skill training

The 13th session of the Committee for Development Policy took place on 21-25 March in New York

This year, the meeting focused on the review of the 2011 Annual Ministerial Review on the Internationally Agreed Goals and Commitments in regards to Education, the UN development agenda beyond 2015, the status of Least Development countries (LDCs) and issues on international migration.

While progress has been made, the Committee concluded that more implementation needs to occur. Discussions stressed the need for quality improvements in education, attention to post-primary education and skill-training by effectively placing education policies in the broader context of microeconomic and development strategies. Regarding migration, it was urged that negative consequences be addressed and regulatory measures be improved to ensure adequate working and living conditions of migrants.

The outcome of the session is part of a larger research programme whose main conclusions and recommendations are expected to be forwarded to ECOSOC in 2012. In addition, further refinements to the indicators of LDCs will be made to better reflect the structural vulnerability of countries to climate change.

For more information:

Bookmark and Share