"CONFINTEA VI is just around the corner." This was the mood within the Consultative Group that met at the International People's College in Elsinore, Denmark, in March 2007. This was a historic setting be-cause the first UNESCO International Conference on Adult Education was held at this residential adult education centre in 1949. Another conference has been held every twelve years since then, in Montreal, Tokyo, Paris and, most recently, Hamburg in 1997 (www.unesco.org/education/uie/confintea) . And it has now been decided that the next will be in Brazil in 2009, to be preceded by regional preparatory conferences in 2008. It is perhaps understandable that there are worries whether the time remaining will be adequate for systematic preparation, motivation and mobilization.
What can civil society organizations and professional associations expect from the next CONFINTEA, when it was clear from the Mid-term Review in Thailand in 2003 that there are few cases in which government responsibility for adult education has led to measurable successes? The policy, legislation and financing of adult education within a framework of lifelong learning, not to mention systematic initial and continuing training, research and documentation, compare poorly with what has happened over the last decade in other sectors of education - schools, vocational education and universities. "We are a long way from implementing the Hamburg Declaration" - this was the concern expressed in the critical undertone of the first meeting of the newly elected ICAE Executive Committee, which also met in March, in Montevideo, the city where the General Secretariat of the International Council for Adult Education has its offices.
At the beginning of the year, the ICAE held its own World Assembly in Nairobi, back to back with the first World Social Forum to take place on African soil since the very first was held in Porto Alegre. It was a successful meeting, combining professional discussion of numerous major issues prepared by specialist commissions, such as health, gender, migration and citizenship, with the requirements of the further organizational development of the Council (www.icae.org.uy). The presentations and conclusions of one of the commissions, dealing with the highly complex question of the financing and organization of adult education, are examined more fully in this issue.
The Education Committee of the German Bundestag also held a hearing in January on the funding of adult education as part of an overall system of support for lifelong learning. We reprint here the Report submitted by the DVV because we can easily imagine that it may be typical of the intensive lobbying of Government and Parliament that needs to be done on behalf of learners.
"Remembering for the Future" was the title of one of the articles in the last issue of this journal, and an invitation was extended to send us further texts about the often difficult and painful process of dealing with history, the violation of human rights and reconciliation following ethnic conflicts, through and in adult education. Thank you - and we shall no doubt have to come back to this theme.
Lastly, we turn to adult education for people with disabilities. We should like this too to be seen as a beginning. We should very much like to explore this topic more deeply, particularly through reports on practice.
In November of this year, DVV International, EAEA and ICAE will be holding a conference on "The human right to education in the context of migration and integration" in Bonn (www.dvv-international.de). Depending on the method of counting used, the number of migrants varies between 50 and 100 million, and includes internal migration as well as that between countries and continents. The trend is upwards. There is a consequent need for many aspects of adult education: as preparation both for those on the move, and for those who need to provide integration in the so-called host countries. There is no doubt that this will be one of the major topics at CONFINTEA VI, and probably at the preparatory regional conferences in 2008, whether in Africa, Asia, Latin America or Europe. Migration is a global issue.