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APMED2030 puts Asia-Pacific on Road to Education 2030


The massive work to unpack the Education 2030 agenda in Asia-Pacific has begun as governments, civil society, UN agencies, development banks and other partners have agreed to take immediate steps to implement it in the region. 

A nine point plan of action to be carried out in 2016 was released at the close of the Asia-Pacific Meeting on Education 2030 (APMED2030) held in Bangkok from 25-27 November.

UNESCO Bangkok Director Gwang-Jo Kim said that APMED2030 draws on momentum from the adoption of Sustainable Development Goal 4, which calls on all countries to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.

We [hoped] that this would have a ripple effect, where global discussions reach the country level and sub-national level,” Mr Kim said. “We've heard from a range of stakeholders at this meeting, from member states, intergovernmental bodies to CSOs, UN agencies and development banks regarding their perspectives on the new education agenda and how they plan to take SDG4 forward. But this is just the beginning of our discussion.”

Jim Ackers, Regional Education Adviser of the UNICEF-East Asia Pacific Regional Office (EAPRO), said that there is great excitement about Education 2030 because of its focus “not only on learning, but also the purpose of learning – learning for transformation,” Mr Ackers said. “The right to education must continue to be seen as a human right, but also as a key enabler to the achievement of all the other SDGs.”

A broad range of stakeholders were represented at APMED2030: more than 200 participants from 40 countries attended, including education ministers and ministry representatives, civil society organizations focused on education, development partners, UN agency representatives, donors and researchers.

A unique feature at APMED was the high level of involvement from UN agencies and development banks. This was highlighted on the first day’s panel discussion, “Perspectives from UN Agencies and Development Partners on Education 2030”, moderated by Mr Kim. Representatives from UNESCO, UNICEF, UNDP, the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), UNFPA, ESCAP, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank joined the discussion on the education agenda, and the cross-agency collaboration needed for its implementation in the region.



“Ambitious” was the way many APMED2030 delegates described Education 2030, but all were unanimous in their conviction that the work it will require to implement is essential to extending education to all people.

“The reason for this conference is to focus on how regional cooperation can empower people,” said Dr Jinhee Kim, a Research Fellow with the Korean Educational Development Institute. “My real concern is how can we empower disadvantaged people, underprivileged people through this global initiative?”

The spirit of collaboration was strong and APMED and several of the delegates identified the need for greater cooperation within the region to make Education 2030 a reality in Asia-Pacific.

Dr Rokhsareh Fazli, Director-General of the Pre-primary Bureau of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Ministry of Education, said that too often education ministry officials are so focused on their specific countries that they miss out on the benefits of greater collaboration. “The EFA era taught us how difficult it can be to coordinate with other countries,” she said. This meeting can help us improve that coordination on all levels – national, regional and global.”

The ability to gauge the success of the implementation of the Education 2030 agenda in Asia-Pacific hinges largely on the ability to measure progress. Data was the major focus of the second day of the conference. Among the topics discussed were understanding the thematic monitoring framework and the 43 indicators of SDG 4, mapping the availability of data to monitor Education 2030 in the region and learning from national experiences in this critical area.

Scott Pontifex, Team Leader Regional EMIS (Educational Management Information System) Facility for SPC (Pacific Community), will be involved in the effort to gather data. “Education 2030 is a very ambitious framework. For the Pacific Island countries, they have a lot of capacity issues that will make monitoring of the framework very difficult but I think it's a very valuable exercise and we're very motivated to try to help countries monitor their Education 2030 agenda.”

Mohammad Shakir Habibyar, Monitoring & Reporting Senior Specialist for Afghanistan’s Ministry of Education, said that that APMED2030 picks up on the “unfinished business” of the EFA era. “Education 2030 is an important agenda for the global leaders in education. The EFA agenda remains incomplete in Afghanistan and we have [instigated] measures to meet EFA targets and take the education agenda forward.”



APMED2030 concluded with, “Next Steps: Actions for 2016”, which outlined four immediate actions to be taken by Member States and five by development partners and civil society organizations aimed at kick-starting regional efforts to implement Education 2030.

Member States agreed to carry out the following actions by the end of 2016:

1. Establish or strengthen a national coordination mechanism for SDG 4;

2. Map existing policies and programmes that contribute to SDG 4 targets in preparation for national consultations;

3. Organize national and sub-national consultations to analyse the Education 2030 targets and Framework for Action in light of existing plans to identify gaps and to plan actions to implement and monitor SDG 4;

4. Build or strengthen inter-governmental cooperation to foster synergies and mutual learning for SDG 4.

Immediate actions to be taken by development partners and civil society organizations included:

1. Review composition and terms of reference of regional/sub-regional coordination mechanisms and to develop plans in consultation with stakeholders to support national efforts toward SDG 4;

2. Prepare advocacy communication materials that provide key messages on SDG 4;

3. Prepare guidelines for planning, implementing and monitoring SDG 4 based on capacity assessment and support alignment of national plans with SDG targets;

4. Map available data and data sources for SDG 4 indicators, as well as capacity needs in data management, reporting and use;

5. Develop and disseminate technical guidelines for monitoring SDG 4, including definition of the indicators, data sources and methods of data collection and analysis.

A series of consultations will take place in 2016 to initiate each of these actions.

The full outcome document is available here: www.unescobkk.org/education/education-2030/apmed2030-outcome-document/


For more on APMED 2030, please visit: goo.gl/9dWKQj