New York, 24th November, 2015 (WAM) – The heads of UNESCO, UNFPA and UN Women sealed a partnership to empower adolescent girls and young women through education, by signing a joint programme agreement at the headquarters of the United Nations Population Fund in New York.
The agreement was signed today by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin and UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka represented by UN Women Deputy Executive Director Yannick Glemarec.
“Taking the 2030 Agenda forward calls for working in synergy to better tackle the cross-cutting obstacles that are preventing young girls and women from fulfilling their potential,” said Ms. Bokova. “This partnership is a model that brings together our respective strengths to break the cycle of exclusion and vulnerability, to ensure that girls benefit from a full cycle of quality education, in line with the promise of Sustainable Development Goal 4.”
Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka affirmed on the occasion of the signing that “there can be no gender equality without education for girls.”
“With this partnership, we are putting the right conditions in place to realize progress across the 2030 Agenda, to harness ICTs for quality learning, and to empower adolescent girls and young women with the confidence and skills they need to lead productive lives and shape a better future for themselves, their communities and nations.”
Dr. Osotimehin stressed that ensuring girls’ health and education, especially their sexual and reproductive health and rights, is a crucial dimension of the 2030 Agenda.
“Girls face tremendous risks at the age of puberty. Too many girls do not complete school due to teenage pregnancy and early and forced marriage. Access to sexual and reproductive health information, services and life skills is vital for girls to transition to adulthood in confidence and safety. This Joint Programme will allow us to make this dimension an integral part of girls’ empowerment and their educational advancement.”
From legislative frameworks to classroom practices, gender-sensitive curricula, sexual and reproductive health information, education and services, and data collection, the new Joint Programme will provide a coordinated and collaborative response to the persistent gender gap in education — with a specific focus on adolescent girls and young women between the ages of 10 and 24.
This focus is guided by extensive evidence on the catalytic impact of secondary education across the development spectrum and across generations. These include curbing child marriage and early pregnancy, improving health and incomes, and fostering civic participation.
The Joint Programme takes a comprehensive, life-cycle approach by strengthening links between the health and education sectors, and improving the information and knowledge base on gender and education. It will also harness the potential of information and communication technologies to improve education delivery and content and encourage their further application for income generation, lifelong learning and exercising citizenship.
The Joint Programme will focus on the following six countries: Mali, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, South Sudan and Tanzania. The goal is to work in 20 countries where the education gender gap is most critical over a five-year period. The World Bank Group is a partner organization in the Joint Programme.
The Joint Programme was announced during the 59th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women in March 2015. This Joint Document signed today formalizes this Partnership.
The Four Components of the Joint Programme: 1. Improving the quality and relevance of education 2. Increasing synergy between health and education sectors 3. Creating an enabling environment 4. Building the data and evidence-base