As many governments strive to expand basic education, they alsoface the challenge of ensuring that students stay in school long enough to acquire the knowledge they need to cope in a rapidly changing world.Assessments show that this is not happening in many countries. This Report reviews research evidence on the multiple factors that determine quality, and maps out key policies for improving the teaching and learning process, especially in low-income countries.

Este informe se presenta de conformidad con las resoluciones 8/4 y 17/3 del Consejo de Derechos Humanos. En él se destacan los avances recientes relacionados con la agenda para el desarrollo después de 2015, prestando especial atención a un enfoque de la educación basado en los derechos humanos. El Relator Especial aporta perspectivas sobre los objetivos de la educación y recomienda estrategias de aplicación.

El informe considera la educación como la base de la agenda para el desarrollo después de 2015 y presenta las opiniones y recomendaciones del Relator Especial sobre métodos para aplicar de manera práctica un enfoque basado en los derechos humanos a los objetivos de desarrollo relacionados con la educación.

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The new Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report by UNESCO, shows the potential for education to propel progress towards all global goals outlined in the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs). It also shows that education needs a major transformation to fulfill that potential and meet the current challenges facing humanity and the planet. There is an urgent need for greater headway in education. On current trends, the world will achieve universal primary education in 2042, universal lower secondary education in 2059 and universal upper secondary education in 2084. This means the world would be half a century late for the 2030 SDG deadline. 

The publication is a compilation of practical examples of measures taken by Member States in implementing the provisions of the UNESCO Convention and Recommendation against Discrimination in Education - considered a cornerstone of Education 2030. 

The examples are taken from national reports submitted to UNESCO for the Eighth Consultation of Member States on the implementation of these two international instruments.

The compendium seeks to provide an overview of promising measures taken to ensure equality of educational opportunities and non-discrimination – determining factors for the realisation of Sustainable Development Goal 4, while also serving as a tool for information sharing and advocacy in connection with the right to education.

In this report, the Special Rapporteur argues that treating economic and social rights as human rights is essential both for efforts to eliminate extreme poverty and to ensure a balanced and credible approach in the field of human rights as a whole. He argues that economic and social rights currently remain marginal in most contexts, thus undermining the principle of the indivisibility of the two sets of rights.

Conventional wisdom celebrates the great strides that have been made in recent years in relation to economic and social rights. At the international level, the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has been adopted, an impressive number of special procedures have been created to focus on these rights and bodies like the Human Rights Council spend much more time than they once did debating these issues. At the national level, economic and social rights proponents celebrate the impressive degree of constitutional recognition of some or most economic and social rights, the growing capacity of courts in many countries to enforce them, the growth of national non-governmental organisations working on economic and social rights and the emergence of a vibrant scholarly literature on the justiciability of those rights.

However, despite important recent progress, the reality is that economic and social rights remain largely invisible in the law and institutions of the great majority of States. In support of this proposition, the Special Rapporteur notes that: many of the States whose Constitutions recognise economic and social rights have not translated that recognition into a human rights-based legislative framework; the increasingly widespread constitutional acceptance of the justiciability of economic and social rights contrasts with the resistance of many of the relevant courts to acting on these rights; many of the States that enjoy the world’s highest living standards have specifically rejected proposals to recognise economic and social rights in legislative or constitutional form; most national-level institutional mechanisms for promoting human rights neglect economic and social rights; and national economic and social rights accountability mechanisms are generally much rarer than mainstream accounts would suggest.

The extent to which economic and social rights remain unacknowledged as human rights is the frequency with which debates about economic and social rights slide imperceptibly and almost naturally into broad discussions of development. But, in fact, development initiatives might not be rights-promoting, or even rights-protecting. In this report, the Special Rapporteur spells out why it matters that economic and social rights be treated as human rights and examines the ways in which this can be done by outlining the recognition, institutionalisation and accountability (RIA) framework that focuses primary attention on ensuring recognition of the rights, institutional support for their promotion and accountability mechanisms for their implementation.

Who Will Be Accountable? Human Rights and the Post-2015 Development Agenda explains that embedding accountability into the very DNA of the post-2015 sustainable development architecture will be critical to ensure the new plan ensures political commitments made at the international level actually result in policy changes on the ground. The publication examines accountability gaps that have impeded realisation of global and national development goals thus far. It highlights shortcomings in the accountability of actors within, above and beyond the state, including the responsibilities of wealthier states, international institutions and the private sector to ensure their policies and practices do not undermine human development and the fulfilment of human rights. It also explains how these shortcomings can be overcome in the design of a new set of post-2015 goals by aligning these more closely with international human rights standards. 

The 2015 Global Monitoring Report – Education for All 2000-2015: Achievements and Challenges – provides a complete assessment of progress since 2000 towards the target date for reaching the Dakar Framework’s goals.

It takes stock of whether the world achieved the EFA goals and stakeholders upheld their commitments. It explains possible determinants of the pace of progress.

Finally, it identifies key lessons for shaping the post-2015 global education agenda.

In this report, the Secretary-General outlines the linkages between economic, social and cultural rights and the Sustainable Development Goals framework as two converging agendas, and highlights equality, non-discrimination and accountability principles as well as a human rights-based approach to data as key to ensuring the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in a manner consistent with the obligations of States under international law. The report identifies key challenges and opportunities for the human rights-based implementation of the 2030 Agenda and contributions of international human rights mechanisms, and concludes with recommendations to that end.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development officially came into effect on 1 January 2016, after it was adopted unanimously at the United Nations by world Heads of State and Governments in September 2015. With its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets, the Agenda covers a comprehensive set of issues across the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental.

In many respects, the 2030 Agenda is a significant improvement from the previous agenda, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were supposed to have been met by 2015. It is universal in applying to all countries, rather than just ‘developing’ countries, and it covers a more comprehensive set of issues, therefore better addressing the complexities of sustainable development and reflecting the whole spectrum of human rights. The 2030 Agenda also has a central focus on combatting inequality, both through stand-alone goals (Goal 5 on gender inequality and Goal 10 on reducing inequality within and among countries) and an overarching pledge to ‘Leave No One Behind’ in implementation. Gender equality and women’s empowerment is recognised as a cross-cutting objective across all the goals (with indicators that are required to be disaggregated by sex), but is also included as a stand-alone goal with specific targets. The Agenda also recognizes the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, as among its foundations.

Whereas the MDG commitments on gender equality were limited to targets on gender parity in education and maternal mortality, SDG 5 includes more comprehensive and potentially transformative commitments for women’s rights, due to the effective mobilization of women’s rights organizations. It includes targets to: eliminate all forms of discrimination, end gender-based violence and child marriage; ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health services and reproductive rights; increase participation in decision-making at all levels; ensure women’s equal rights to economic resources, including ownership and control over land; and to recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work (including through the provision of public services and social protection.) Moreover, there are gender specific targets in other goals, for example, to eliminate gender disparity in education (SDG 4.5); ensure women’s access to adequate sanitation (SDG 6.2); equal pay for work of equal value (SDG 8.5); and safe and affordable transport for women (SDG 11.2). As the inclusion of these issues indicates, the SDGs are therefore far more holistic and rights-aligned on gender equality than the MDGs, despite some weaknesses.

Yet, when dealing with issues of accountability, there is no major improvement over the MDGs. Under the MDGs, there was no clarity as to who was responsible for what, there was no institutional mechanism through which ‘beneficiaries’ could meaningfully engage in shaping or challenging decisions at the domestic level, and  there was an inadequate, opaque system to monitor and report on progress. The lack of accountability for the MDGs was considered a primary shortfall. With a view to improving on these shortcomings, civil society organizations and many other actors involved in the discussions regarding the new development agenda made it a priority to push for robust accountability for the SDGs. However, during the political negotiations, there was resistance by many States seeking to systematically water down proposals for accountability. Consequently, the final text of the 2030 Agenda includes only a weak voluntary process of reporting to monitor compliance. In the end, the terms “follow-up and review” were preferred over “accountability”.

The implementation of the SDGs is a long and complex process, and the fear is that without stronger accountability mechanisms, States and other stakeholders might not dedicate sufficient efforts and resources towards their compliance. Moreover, compliance with gender-related goals and targets also requires gender-responsive accountability mechanisms. This means, at a bare minimum, that women should be full participants in any oversight or accountability process and that women’s human rights standards must be those against which public decisions are assessed. Without these mechanisms, governments may well focus their efforts on the achievement of goals and targets which are not aligned with the priorities of national women rights’ and feminist movements, or fall far short of their ambitions.

The World Education Report 2000’s focus on education as a basic human right is a fitting choice for the International Year for the Culture of Peace. Education is both a human right and a vital means of promoting peace and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms generally. If its potential to contribute towards building a more peaceful world is to be realised, education must be made universally available and equally accessible to all. The report aims to contribute to a better international understanding of the nature and scope of the right to education, of its fundamental importance for humanity and of the challenges that still lie ahead to ensure its full implementation

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