At this mid-term period, it is critical to maintain the momentum on EFA. Despite significant progress since Dakar, we still have a long way to go, and efforts must be redoubled if we are to achieve the EFA goals by 2015.He went on to discuss specific meetings relating to the Education for All program. Given the need expressed by various review meetings of greater efforts to achieve the EFA goals in Africa, the Director General discussed the African efforts in more detail.
This is why UNESCO is working hard to include EFA priorities on the agendas of other development meetings, and to raise awareness and understanding of the connections between EFA and other global issues. Certainly, we must retain our clear and determined focus on the six Dakar goals. We cannot allow the EFA agenda to be diluted or confused. However, we must not forget that achieving EFA is inextricably linked with other development challenges – including poverty reduction, public health, HIV and AIDS and environmental sustainability. A better understanding of these links would help strengthen our campaign for EFA. I believe it is possible to deal with these synergies and still retain our focus........
I also wish to mention the ongoing series of literacy conferences, which likewise focus on regional and subregional challenges. Since literacy is not included among the MDGs it has tended to be neglected. The aim of these conferences is to show that literacy is just as important to achieving our development goals as universal primary education. Our purpose is to mobilize political and financial support at the highest levels and give literacy the place it deserves on the agendas of national governments and international partners.
International Year of Languages, to be celebrated this year, with many events planned throughout the world, will be another opportunity to highlight the crucial role of multilingualism in the preservation of cultural diversity and to promote dialogue and exchange among cultures. International Mother Language Day, on 21 February, will mark the launch of the Year, which I hope many of you will also celebrate.
Another important date will, of course, be 21 May, on which World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development will be celebrated and the UNESCO World Report on Cultural Diversity will be launched. The importance of languages in that regard will certainly be stressed on that Day......
Other questions raised concerned the progress achieved in implementing the Action Plan for the safeguarding of the cultural heritage of the Old City of Jerusalem.
The Action Plan documents have been collated and transmitted to the parties concerned and to the donors who have provided funding (namely Italy, Saudi Arabia and the European Union). A brochure on the projects is being compiled and a meeting with permanent delegations will be held soon to launch a campaign to mobilize funds for the implementation of the second phase of the Plan.