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New Global Alliance to Catalyse Education Reform Announced


World Economic Forum and UNESCO Joint Press Release

Brussels, Belgium, 2 May 2007 – The private sector, governments, international organizations and donors have joined forces in an unprecedented partnership to accelerate progress towards Education for All (EFA). The new Partnerships for Education (PfE) was announced by the World Economic Forum and UNESCO at today’s “Keeping Our Promises on Education” conference in Brussels.

Key organizations driving the Partnership include leading World Economic Forum member companies – AMD, Cisco, Intel Corporation and Microsoft; the Education for All Fast Track Initiative (FTI); UNESCO as global lead UN agency in EFA; and the World Economic Forum, through its Global Education Initiative (GEI).

Partnerships for Education builds on the best practices and lessons learned from existing multistakeholder partnership models, including the World Economic Forum GEI country initiatives launched in Jordan, Rajasthan and Egypt in recent years. “These initiatives of our member companies have demonstrated the synergy and win-win possibilities of using coordinated multistakeholder partnerships to make more effective use of the resources available in a country to strengthen its education reform process,” said Rick Samans, Managing Director, World Economic Forum.

In bringing together this diverse set of stakeholders, each member of the Partnership will contribute their unique core competencies that will result in a combined pool of the skills and resources to help implement the EFA objectives in countries around the world. Specifically, over the next few months, the Partnership will begin exploring opportunities to work directly with countries to help them implement their education reform plans, in particular by mobilizing a range of relevant private sector capabilities from domestic and multinational firms. The first countries selected to receive this support will be announced in January 2008.

Representing the Fast Track Initiative, a global partnership between donors and developing countries to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goal and EFA goal of universal primary education by 2015, Desmond Bermingham, Head of the EFA-FTI Secretariat said: “We look forward to working together with the members of this Partnership to help achieve and catalyse the implementation of the EFA-FTI objectives. Working through the FTI framework will maximize impact and ensure consistency with ongoing programmes for education in developing countries.”

“Achieving Education for All requires the participation of all,” said UNESCO Director-General Koďchiro Matsuura. “Partnerships for Education is a giant step in this direction and we have great expectations for it.”

In a joint statement from the private sector participants of the Partnerships for Education, Hector Ruiz (CEO, AMD), John Chambers (CEO, Cisco), Craig Barrett (Chairman, Intel Corporation), and Bill Gates (Chairman, Microsoft Corporation) said: “We all realize the importance of education and the urgent need for increased collaboration to help provide the education that will allow all citizens of all ages the opportunity to realize their potential and their dreams. The time for action is now. We look forward to working with our counterparts and providing the skills and resources that will result in developing innovative and creative solutions to help catalyse the education reform process.” Contributions from the private sector will take the form of providing specific expertise in education subject matter, seconding programme management resources, and collaborating with the country’s local industry to develop and implement solutions that meet the country’s education requirements.

Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, who has been leading the Jordan Education Initiative (JEI) – the first country education initiative of the Global Education Initiative which has served as a model of multistakeholder partnerships in action – added, “Jordan supports the launch of this innovative and important Partnership. We look forward to sharing the models developed in the JEI with the countries who are also embarking on a similar journey.”

UNESCO and the Forum will play a key role in making sure that members of the Partnership can contribute not only financial but also technical resources and expertise. It will play a crucial role in ensuring efficient donor coordination as well as enabling country-level participation of the private sector as an important stakeholder in the development and improvement of national education systems.

The new Partnerships for Education represents a major contribution towards the fulfilment of a promise made by over 160 countries at the 2000 World Education Forum held in Dakar, Senegal, to mobilize resources from other parts of society “including different levels of government, the private sector and non-governmental organizations” in the quest to achieve Education for All by the target date of 2015.

A key to success will be the alignment and coordination of the added private sector engagement alongside the efforts of major education donors. The World Economic Forum and UNESCO, on behalf of all members in the Partnerships for Education, look forward to facilitating increased collaboration with all key education donors over the coming months to achieve these objectives.

Note to Editors:

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The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

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