LAC Ministers Highlight Education, Skills for 2030 Agenda
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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Ministers of education in Latin America and the Caribbean, along with representatives of multilateral organizations, adopted the Buenos Aires Declaration, reaffirming education as a fundamental human right and a basis for realizing other rights, a catalyst for sustainable development and an instrument for achieving the SDGs.

The Declaration is the outcome of a meeting titled 'E2030: Education and Skills for the 21st century,’ which took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 24-25 January 2017.

1 February 2017: Ministers of education in Latin America and the Caribbean, along with representatives of multilateral organizations, agreed on the Buenos Aires Declaration on education and skills for the 21st century. By the Declaration, the ministers reaffirm education as a fundamental human right and a basis for realizing other rights, a catalyst for sustainable development and an instrument for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

The Buenos Aires Declaration recognizes inequality as the major socio-economic challenge for the Latin American and Caribbean region.

The Declaration is the outcome of a meeting of the region’s ministers of education, titled ‘E2030: Education and Skills for the 21st century,’ which took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 24-25 January 2017. The Declaration states that the ‘Education 2030 Agenda’ should contribute to eliminating poverty, reducing inequalities and caring for the environment through inclusive, quality education and lifelong learning. The Declaration recognizes inequality as the major socio-economic challenge for the region, and stresses that “the governing principle of the education agenda for 2030 should be to ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes.”

On regional coordination, the ministers underscore the importance of regional coordination mechanisms to achieve education-related goals. Participants agree to establish a ‘Secretariat of the Education 2030 Committee,’ headed by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Regional Bureau for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (OREALC/UNESCO Santiago), with the participation of Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, a Caribbean country representative, and a society representative. The Declaration highlights multilingualism and multiculturalism as characteristics of Latin America and the Caribbean, and calls on States to develop their own approaches to education that reinforce diversity and promote more inclusive policies and societies, including by improving responses to ensure the rights and needs of migrants and refugees.

On monitoring and evaluation, Ministers commit to strengthen and diversify national assessment and monitoring mechanisms to monitor progress towards SDG 4 (quality education), and to provide accountability and transparency, in accordance with country circumstances. Ministers further commit to using assessment results to shape public policies to improve education quality and learning experiences. Ministers also support the UNESCO Institute for Statistics’ (UIS) work to define education indicators, and they recognize the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report as the global information mechanism on SDG 4.

On policy coherence, Ministers ratify the regional coordination role of OREALC/UNESCO Santiago in the E2030 Agenda. They request UNESCO, UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Population Fund (UNFPA), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), International Labour Organization (ILO), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), UN Women and the World Bank and other relevant actors to ensure coherence and develop joint actions to support implementation of E2030.

The Declaration further addresses: commitments to education and lifelong learning; expansion of early childhood care and development programmes; the importance of secondary, technical and vocational education and higher education for knowledge, scientific and technological innovation and advancement of societies; the role of education in guaranteeing democracy and fairer societies; the need to maintain, optimize and increase funding for education; and the importance of strengthening training for teachers and improving the working conditions of education professionals. On education for sustainable development (ESD), Ministers commit to design and implement comprehensive ESD programs, and to disseminate the SDGs to education stakeholders to empower them as global and responsible citizens for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

OREALC/UNESCO Santiago organized the meeting in collaboration with Argentina’s Ministry of Education and Sport.The Education 2030 Agenda (E2030) was prepared with the active participation of UNESCO as a contribution to the 17 SDGs. The E2030 Framework for Action (FFA) was adopted in November 2015. [UNESCO Press Release on Declaration] [UNESCO Press Release on Meeting Opening] [Buenos Aires Declaration] [Meeting Website]

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