CONFINTEA VII: Voices from our partners

The Seventh International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VII) closed on 17 June 2022 with the adoption of the Marrakech Framework for Action by the representatives of over 140 countries. We asked our partner network to comment on the conference and its outcome.

The Seventh International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VII) closed on 17 June 2022 with the adoption of the Marrakech Framework for Action by the representatives of over 140 countries. We asked our partner network to comment on the conference and its outcome.

“There was relief and celebration when the Marrakech Framework for Action (MFA) was adopted. Relief because two years of engaging with our members and with the Consultative Committee had paid off. Celebration because the MFA adopted most of the principles and commitments of the Declaration of the Civil Society Forum. As we prepare to act on our MFA commitments, let me note the creative tension between the commitment of the SDGs to lifelong learning and the distinct commitment of ALE to the right of adults to education that address their unique learning needs. While lifelong learning recognises learning from the cradle to the grave, we know that ALE continues to suffer from a lack of recognition, financing, and support. Therefore, our MFA commitment is truly two-fold, not only must we continue our urgent work to educate adults, but we must also continue to advocate for the distinct recognition of ALE within lifelong learning.”

Jose Roberto 'Robbie' Guevara, President of the International Council for Adult Education (ICAE)

“The 7th World Conference on Adult Learning and Education (ALE), CONFINTEA VII took place at a challenging moment. The impact of the pandemic, the accelerating climate change and the multiple conflicts in the world created a situation in which the need for a more and more holistic ALE became obvious. We should make sure people globally are equipped to understand and to shape the transformations needed. As a representative of civil society, I would have loved to see more concrete commitments for substantial support of ALE in the outcome document. However, the Marrakesh Framework for Action states the need for sustainable funding and legal frameworks as pre-requisites to ensure no-one is left behind, in Europe and globally.”

Uwe Gartenschlaeger, President of the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA)

“Sustained, pro-active and decisive engagements of ASPBAE, its members from the Asia Pacific, along with its partners, ICAE and DVV International at the global, regional and country levels, led to a successful exertion of influence on the CONFINTEA VII processes and its final outcome through the Marrakech Framework for Action (MFA). The MFA was a much stronger document with its rights-based framing, commitment to sustainable domestic and external financing for ALE and attention to gender equality as well as the most marginalised learners – all these were propositions made by civil society and it is now upon us to hold governments and the international education and development community to account on meeting these commitments.”

Helen Dabu, Secretary-General of the Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education (ASPBAE)

“The Arab House for Adult Education & Development (AHAED) spent almost two years preparing CONFINTEA VII. This was very positive for AHAED dynamics, contacts and networking. We also issued an important position paper that includes 475 voices from many different NGOs. AHAED was also actively involved in the CONFINTEA VII preparation conference for the Arab region. We published a special issue of our Journal fully devoted to the CONFINTEA process (available in Arabic and English). However, we also discovered how complex the cooperation between representatives of civil society and governmental structures can be, especially when representatives of these government structures are the main invitees to CONFINTEA VII. Logistical complications were also very present at all levels and affected funding, invitations, and visas. Beyond all the positive preparations, many civil society representatives from our region were unfortunately not able to join the conference in Marrakech and contribute to discussions on the future of ALE.”

Elsy Wakil, Secretary-General of the Arab House for Adult Education and Development (AHAED)

“For CLADE it is fundamental that, based on the Marrakech Framework for Action, a strong and permanent follow-up process in our region should be initiated; it is an opportunity to give ALE the place it deserves, with more visibility and importance. From our perspective, we would like to highlight some particular points that are present in the framework: The affirmation of ALE as a fundamental human right; the strategic importance of ALE for gender equality and for human rights as a whole; the need for a critical approach to ICTs; the urgency of the professionalisation of educators, acknowledged by working conditions and salaries; the commitment to increased public funding; the focus on inclusion and diversity; the crucial importance of reliable and transparent data to enable monitoring. It is very necessary to give strength to this Framework for Action that was achieved through intense previous work both in our region and with other regions, and through the advocacy work we were doing at the conference directly with the governments of the region who sent delegates.”

Nelsy Lizarazo, General Coordinator for the Campaña Latinoamericana por el Derecho a la Educación (CLADE)

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