Organization of Educational Cooperation Established to Meet SDG4

The Education Relief Foundation (ERF), jointly with the Republic of Djibouti, convened the Third Forum on Balanced and Inclusive Education (III ForumBIE) 2030. The Forum held in on 27-29 January 2020 aimed to develop strategies for achieving United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4), on inclusive and equitable quality education.

By Maged Srour
ROME, Feb 6 2020 – The Education Relief Foundation (ERF), jointly with the Republic of Djibouti, convened the III ForumBIE 2030 on Balanced and Inclusive Education On January 27-29 2020. This third ForumBIE 2030, with the overall aim to develop strategies for achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) on inclusive and equitable quality education, concluded with the signing of the Universal Declaration on Balanced and Inclusive Education, which established a new international organization : ‘Organization for Educational Cooperation’.

Below, we bring you images from the III ForumBIE2030 that took place in Djibouti City, capital of the small Horn of Africa country. An IPS team of three journalists and analysts, Joyce Chimbi, Stella Paul and Maged Srour attended and reported on the Summit.

The Education Relief Foundation (ERF), jointly with the Republic of Djibouti, convened the Third Forum on Balanced and Inclusive Education (III ForumBIE) 2030. The Forum held in on 27-29 January 2020 aimed to develop strategies for achieving United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4), on inclusive and equitable quality education.

The Summit took place in Djibouti City, capital of the small Horn of Africa country of Djibouti.

The Summit took place in Djibouti City, capital of the small Horn of Africa country of Djibouti.

Delegates and representatives from 38 governments, civil society organisations and academia gathered to discuss common objectives of achieving ‘balanced and inclusive education’ through concrete steps. These steps are described in the Universal Declaration of Balanced and Inclusive Education (UDBIE), the important document that was presented and signed at the Summit.

The focus of the Summit was not only the signing of the UDBIE, it was also an opportunity for stakeholders to highlight the most pressing challenges faced by countries in achieving inclusive education. Among the issues that were raised: how much progress has been made so far; which groups face more difficult access to education (i.e. women, indigenous populations, minorities, disabled people), where are people struggling the most to have access to education and what can be done to take concrete action.

The focus of the Summit was not only the signing of the UDBIE, it was also an opportunity for stakeholders to highlight the most pressing challenges faced by countries in achieving inclusive education. Among the issues that were raised: how much progress has been made so far; which groups face more difficult access to education (i.e. women, indigenous populations, minorities, disabled people), where are people struggling the most to have access to education and what can be done to take concrete action.

Women and girls are the ones who have more difficulty in accessing education. About one third of countries in the developing world have not achieved gender parity in primary education. Moreover, data by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), shows that only 35 percent of students studying STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in higher education globally are women.
At the Summit, many delegates emphasized the need to include more concrete action to empower women to access education.

Women and girls are the ones who have more difficulty in accessing education. About one third of countries in the developing world have not achieved gender parity in primary education. Moreover, data by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), shows that only 35 percent of students studying STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in higher education globally are women.
At the Summit, many delegates emphasized the need to include more concrete action to empower women to access education.

During the informal session of the three-day event, delegates from 38 countries discussed the upcoming creation of the Organization for Educational Cooperation. They also fully explored the dynamics of the challenges to achieve inclusive education, examining trends and facts in different regions – Africa, Asia, Latin America, Middle East and North Africa – while also proposing concrete actions to “tailor education to local contexts”, “prepare students to address world challenges”, “transforming the dynamics of the classrooms” and “responsibility of the academia” in these processes.

During the informal session of the three-day event, delegates from 38 countries discussed the upcoming creation of the Organization for Educational Cooperation. They also fully explored the dynamics of the challenges to achieve inclusive education, examining trends and facts in different regions – Africa, Asia, Latin America, Middle East and North Africa – while also proposing concrete actions to “tailor education to local contexts”, “prepare students to address world challenges”, “transforming the dynamics of the classrooms” and “responsibility of the academia” in these processes.

At the Closing Ceremony of the Third Forum BIE 2030, 38 governments, civil society organisations and academic entities became the first to sign the Universal Declaration of Balanced and Inclusive Education (UDBIE). Furthermore, 30 signatories, including governments and civil society organisations, agreed to establish the Organization of Educational Cooperation (OEC), a new international organization from the Global South with the aim to create platforms and mechanisms of solidarity-based technical and financial cooperation and support for educational reforms.

Sheikh Manssour Bin Musallam, President of The Education Relief Foundation, (second from left) who sponsored the Summit, was elected as the first Secretary General of the OEC. In this photo, on his right, is Ismail Omar Guelleh, President of the Republic of Djibouti.

Kadra Mahamoud Haid, first lady of Djibouti, (second from right) was present at the opening ceremony of the Summit.

The Summit was a moment of international and national interest, covered by many local and international news organizations, including IPS Inter Press Service News Agency. Stella Paul (India), Maged Srour (Italy) and Joyce Chimbi (Kenya) formed the oart of the IPS reporting team.

The Summit was a moment of international and national interest, covered by many local and international news organizations, including IPS Inter Press Service News Agency. Stella Paul (India), Maged Srour (Italy) and Joyce Chimbi (Kenya) formed the oart of the IPS reporting team.

The event was followed extensively on social media, with thousands of tweets and posts on the main social networks.

The event was followed extensively on social media, with thousands of tweets and posts on the main social networks.

The event was followed extensively on social media, with thousands of tweets and posts on the main social networks.

The event was followed extensively on social media, with thousands of tweets and posts on the main social networks.

Djibouti is a country where the security situation remains fragile and conflict in the border area with Eritrea is a continuing concern. The country has been facing threats from terrorism, civil unrest, crime and piracy. For this reason, the Summit was held in tight security. The Summit was an opportunity for the country to show its capacity to host international meetings without incident especially after the 2014 incident when the Somalia-based terrorist group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at a restaurant in the capital city.