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Schoolchildren in class, Ethiopia

©UNESCO/Niamh Burke
Schoolchildren in class, Ethiopia

UNESCO’s mission is to promote education as a fundamental right, to improve the quality of education and to facilitate policy dialogue, knowledge sharing and capacity building. 

UNESCO coordinates the global drive towards Education for All and leads the United Nations Literacy Decade (UNLD), the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) and the UNAIDS Global Initiative on Education and HIV and AIDS (EDUCAIDS). 

The EFA Global Partnerships Team is responsible for coordinating global actions aimed at achieving the EFA goals. Among top coordination priorities are the following:

Promoting partnership – Education for All can only be achieved through broad partnerships between governments, bilateral agencies, civil society groups and the private sector. UNESCO facilitates dialogue among these partners to ensure strong linkages and coordinated action. The EFA Steering Committee and the Global EFA Meeting are mechanisms that enable stakeholders to assess progress and develop strategies for meeting the leading challenges facing countries.

Mobilizing resources – National and domestic resources are insufficient to reach EFA. UNESCO plays a coordinating role through high-level advocacy to keep education on the top of policy agendas, such as the G8. It also promotes and supports South-South cooperation, public-private partnerships and other mechanisms to mobilize more resources for education.

Ensuring effective use of aid – UNESCO speaks out for basic education in international efforts to coordinate effective aid delivery (see OECD-DAC), promotes aid effectiveness at the national level among different partners, collects data for planning and monitoring and negotiates EFA priorities with donors and national authorities.

Communication and advocacy – Ensuring strong visibility for the entire EFA agenda at the international, regional and country level in order to sustain political momentum and commitment. This includes working closely with the media, facilitating knowledge-sharing between countries and encouraging better information exchange between agencies.

Monitoring progress – Every year UNESCO publishes the EFA Global Monitoring Report, an independent publication that tracks progress towards the EFA goals and trends in international aid to education, and analyses major challenges that must be met to reach EFA. Each edition focuses on a specific theme (e.g. early childhood, gender, literacy, quality and governance). The UNESCO Institute for Statistics provides internationally comparable data on a wide range of educational indicators.

Capacity-building - The development of capacity at the national level to plan and manage education systems is crucial for advancing towards the EFA goals. This work is being carried out by a specialised division of UNESCO’s Education Sector, IIEP and many Field Offices. See the web site of UNESCO's Education Plans and Policies.

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