At Agenda 2010 in London on Thursday, a conference hosted by Britain’s Department for International Development, development officials said world leaders must accelerate efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 and rich countries must make good on promises to boost aid to poorer nations – including promises on education.
Helen Clark, the head of the United Nations Development Programme, told AlertNet that goals on primary education – enabling all children to complete primary school – and child mortality – reducing the under-five mortality rate by two-thirds – could be achieved with “some more push.”
The Education for All Global Monitoring Report was central in discussions that highlighted education challenges. Kevin Watkins, director of the report (right, addressing a round-table discussion), and Pauline Rose, senior policy analyst, were invited as lead education experts and Kevin Watkins presented the 2010 report, which fed into some of the key recommendations, for example on the need for equity-based targeting and support for funding pledges to be made at the proposed World Cup education summit.
AlertNet reported that the conference set out proposals to double aid for basic education in low-income countries from $3 billion to $6 billion a year. DFiD also called for a greater proportion of aid to go to fragile countries – those mired in violence and political instability.
Clark said unmet aid pledges have created a “credibility issue.” “Promises made and then not delivered on bring cynicism, and it doesn’t produce a global negotiating environment that is conducive to good relations,” she said.