The preparations for CONFINTEA VI, to be held in Brazil in 2009, are alreadywell advanced. A summary of its aims and expectations, and further information, can be found in the August 2007 Special Issue of the electronic newsletter of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning – UIL Nexus – which we reprint here.
UNESCO’s Sixth International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VI) will be hosted by Brazil in 2009. The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), as the UNESCO unit in charge of adult learning, nonformal education and lifelong learning, is coordinating the preparation of the conference, in cooperation with UNESCO Headquarters and Regional Bureaus and the CONFINTEA VI Host Country.
In line with the tradition, CONFINTEA VI will be a UNESCO Category II intergovernmental conference. The conference itself as well as the preparatory and follow-up processes will provide platforms for policy dialogue and advocacy on adult learning and education within and across countries at global level, with a large participation of UNESCO Member States, United Nations agencies and international development partners, civil society, research institutions, and the private sector.
The previous five CONFINTEA conferences took place in Helsingør (Denmark) in 1949, Montreal (Canada) in 1960, Tokyo (Japan) in 1972, Paris (France) in 1985, and in Hamburg (Germany) in 1997. CONFINTEA V, which was considered a landmark conference, established a holistic understanding of adult learning and education within the perspective of lifelong learning. Adult learning and education were recognized as key tools to address current social and development challenges all over the world. However, the recognition and strong commitment expressed in 1997 did not lead to the corresponding integration, policy prioritization and allocation of resources for adult learning and education, either nationally or internationally.
CONFINTEA VI aims to renew international momentum for adult learning and education, and to redress the discrepancy between the insights and discourse on the one hand and the lack of systematic and effective policies and conditions for adult education and learning on the other hand.
The CONFINTEA VI preparatory process, conference and follow-up will enable a global review of the state of the art of adult education and learning, and will serve as a sounding board for the most relevant and emerging political, cultural, social and economic issues in relation to international education and development. CONFINTEA VI will offer the opportunity to articulate adult education and learning with the major current international policy frameworks in relation to education and development: the Education for All (EFA) goals and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), as well as the United Nations Literacy Decade (UNLD), the Literacy Initiative for Empowerment (LIFE) and the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD). Finally, CONFINTEA VI will engage in producing the tools (e.g. benchmarks) to ensure that previous and future commitments to adult education and learning are implemented.
Concretely, the objectives of CONFINTEA VI are:
CONFINTEA VI will focus on improving the quality of adult learning and education as a field in itself, and concentrate on three to four priority issues.
In pursuance of the above objectives to advance the recognition as well as the horizontal and vertical integration of adult learning and education and the shift from rhetoric to action, CONFINTEA VI will aim at accomplishing the following results and products:
As an overall principle, CONFINTEA VI will be based on partnerships between UN Agencies, international development partners, civil society, research institutions, the private sector and learners in all preparatory activities.
CONFINTEA VI being a UNESCO Category II intergovernmental meeting, the preparatory process will include the following pillars:
A critical element in the preparatory and followup strategy will be the development of benchmarks on adult learning and education in order to provide the tools to measure progress and to ensure implementation. The benchmarks will serve as input for CONFINTEA VI and will be further discussed, refined and adopted during the conference, and constitute one of its crucial outputs.
A communication and advocacy strategy will complement the preparatory process.
To support UIL in coordinating the preparatory process, a Consultative Group has been set up, which is functioning as the key conceptual unit and advisory committee. The Consultative Group includes approximately 1015 persons with an education expert profile, reflecting an institutional, geographic and gender balance. Their members represent UNESCO Member States, UN Agencies, development agencies, intergovernmental bodies, international or regional nongovernmental organizations and academicians, the CONFINTEA VI host country and UNESCO (Headquarters, Regional Bureaus and UIL).
UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning Feldbrunnenstrasse 58 20148 Hamburg Germany www.unesco.org/uil firstname.lastname@example.org
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