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Children and Education Highlights at UN Week

Education was placed in focus during a United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) event at which dignitaries, activists, and education leaders reviewed progress toward universal primary education (MDG 2) and stressed the need for stronger leadership and financing in order to ensure all of the world's children have access to a quality education. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon noted that, "Our efforts are bearing fruit. Education is regaining its rightful place on the global agenda. . . . But we must do more—much more." This was part of the 68th session of the UNGA, which also aligned with the one-year anniversary of Ban Ki-moon's Education First Initiative.

This General Assembly event took place during UN Week, a time when heads of state, global leaders, and civil society come together to debate a broad array of international issues. Many side events took place in parallel with the main General Assembly agenda. Events that addressed children and education issues included the launch of the Early Childhood Peace Consortium, how education will be included in the Post-2015 development agenda, and how to include children's voices in the development agenda process.

A broad group of civil society networks met to build upon traction generated, in part, by Ban Ki-moon's Education First Initiative, to establish a stand-alone goal on education among international development goals. During the meeting, hosted by the Global Campaign for Education (GCE), a joint civil society statement was released on the right to education. Other child's rights non-governmental organizations (NGOs) meetings aimed to ensure children's voices, priorities, and views are used to inform the priorities of world leaders in setting these goals. A list of the types of events during United Nations Week that address children's needs and education is provided below.

The 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly took place from 24 September – 1 October in New York, NY. The assembly is the annual general debate of the 193 Member States of the United Nations, which provides a unique forum for multilateral discussion of the full spectrum of international issues.

Achieving universal primary education is goal two of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which pledges that children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling. Progress toward the goal has slowed significantly over the past several years while 57 million children worldwide remain out of school. The MDGs are due to expire in 2015.

Children and education events during the UN General Assembly Organized/Sponsored by Member States and the UN System:
− Early Childhood Peace Consortium
− Education Cannot Wait - Education in Conflict Areas
− Unfinished Business: Partnering to Reach Every Woman Every Child
− The Right to Education in the Post-2015 Development Agenda
− Amplifying the Voices of Children: A Child Forum on the countdown to the MDGs and Post-2015 Development Agenda
− Women's and Children's Health
− Children's Voices in the Post-2015 Development Agenda
− Women Leaders Forum: Connecting Women's Health and Girls' Education for Scalable and Sustainable Development

For more information:

"Speakers at UN Event Urge Stronger Leadership, More Financing to Ensure Education for All" (UN News Centre)

Global Education First Initiative (website)

The Human Right to Education in the Post-2015 Development Agenda (GCE-International, PDF)

Have your voice heard in the process of building a global agenda for sustainable development (website)

About the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN website)

Planned Events Related to the 2013 Special Event of the President of the General Assembly to Follow Up on Efforts Made Towards Achieving the Millennium Development Goals (schedule of events, PDF)

Millennium Development Goals and Beyond 2015 (website)