17 April 2009
On 15 April 2009, the heads of the five multilateral agencies that convened the 2000 World Education Forum – UNESCO, UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF and the World Bank – sent out a joint letter to all UN resident coordinators and country representatives outlining steps they will take to strengthen collaboration in support of national efforts to achieve Education for All (EFA).“At this critical time for the global economy and the world’s people, investing in education is of vital importance. Government spending and aid flows to education are at risk as a result of the most severe economic slowdown since the 1930s. Yet education is one of the best development investments for reducing poverty and spurring opportunity. Education is also indispensable to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and other internationally agreed goals”, the five agencies affirm in the joint letter.
In this context, the convening agencies have agreed to scale-up their collaboration in a series of key areas, drawing on the outcomes of the 8th meeting of the EFA High-Level Group, and informed by the EFA Global Action Plan. Among the priorities identified are:
- assistance to countries in developing capacity to manage national educational processes;
- enhanced inter-sectoral policy coordination and joint initiatives in education, health, HIV&AIDS and nutrition;
- scaled-up action in the most EFA-challenged counties, in particular through strengthened efforts to mobilize technical support and resources; and
- support to national and regional education information management.
A firm commitment is made to strengthen inter-agency co-ordination, dialogue and communication in line with UN reform efforts. Emphasis is also given to the importance of building on the comparative advantage of each convening agency in terms of mandate, resources available and country representation. In their joint efforts to accelerate progress towards EFA, the five agencies will give particular focus to those countries furthest from achieving the EFA goals and the needs of disadvantaged groups.
This joint communication builds on the letters that the former chair of the UN Development Group (UNDG), Kemal Derviº, has sent to Resident Coordinators, encouraging them to use the EFA Global Action Plan as a platform to reinforce joint action in EFA within the context of UN efforts to deliver as one.
The Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koichiro Matsuura, underscored the importance of this letter, which he said “marks a significant step forward in multilateral coordination in EFA on which the five organizations will seek to build over the coming years”.