Ending Extreme Poverty: Getting Ambitious on Health and Education for children

Date/Location: Wednesday, June 19, 2013; 1:15-2:30; Conference Room 9 (CB)

Speakers: H.E. Ambassador Yanerit Morgan (Deputy Permanent Representative, Mexico); H.E. Ambassador Martin Vidal (Deputy Permanent Representative of Uruguay); (Mr. Olav Kjorven (Assistant Secretary-General, UNDP); Mr. Jean-Marc Chataigner (Deputy General Director, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, France); Ms. Yemisrach Kebede (African Regional Education Advocacy Advisor, Save the Children); Ms. Natalia Mattioli (Advocacy Advisor, SOS Children’s Villages, Beyond 2015 Representative)

Written by: Marli Kasdan

Attended by: Alyssa Strasser and Marli Kasdan

WIT claims no rights to this image; courtesy of princemypc

WIT claims no rights to this image; courtesy of princemypc

Today, as part of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, a side event was held entitled “Ending Extreme Poverty: Getting Ambitious on Health and Education For Children”. This meeting featured a panel of speakers discussing the importance of health and education as a main part of the post 2015 development agenda as a tool to eradicate poverty.

Opening remarks were given by Mr. Morgan who began the discussion by talking about the rights of children and the explicit need to put children and youth at the center of the post 2015 development agenda for a sustainable future. He also commented on the importance of including health, education, human rights, and security in the agenda as well.

Following, the first speaker, Mr. Vidal, gave a statement on how health and education are essential to give children the chance to succeed in society. He highlighted the recent developments Uruguay has made in this field. Recently, Uruguay has provided universal access to health services for children which has resulted in the reduction of the child mortality rate by almost 50%.

Uruguay has also instated free and compulsory elementary education, increased its share of GDP expenditures on education, and has provided more internet connection in schools. Next, Mr. Kjorven gave a statement on the necessity to include health and education in the post 2015 development agenda and use lessons learned from the MDGs when setting up targets and goals.

He also emphasized the importance of human rights, equity, gender equality, accountability, and a new agenda focusing on the most disadvantaged and marginalized people. On the health agenda, Mr. Kjorven called for a focus on noncommunicable diseases, mental health diseases, sexual and reproductive health, and universal health coverage for all. Regarding education, he said that education is a fundamental human right and called for universal access to education, training, and learning. Education contributes to good governance, participatory citizenship, poverty eradication, conflict prevention, and peace building.

Following, Mr. Chataigner gave a statement on health as a driver and outcome of sustainable development and pointed out the linkages between nutrition, health, and education. He said that universal health coverage must be implemented to increase life expectancy and achieve sustainable development. He also called for the continuing fight against AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.

Ms. Kebede then spoke about the persistent inequality in education. In Africa, around 120 million children have either not made it to school or will drop out before their 4th year of schooling and another 130 million fail to require the basic skills they need while attending school. Furthermore, net enrollment numbers do match school completion rates.

Ms. Kebede called for more spending on education and a new development framework to address the learning gap between the poorest and richest in society as well as targeted funding to reach the poorest children, girls, ethnic minorities, and those living in conflict areas. She ended her statement by saying “Today’s inequalities in education are tomorrow’s inequalities in income, wealth, and power”.

Concluding the panel, Ms. Mattioli gave a statement about the Beyond 2015 Campaign which is a global civil society campaign that brings together more than 700 civil society organizations to advocate for goals, targets, and frameworks in the post 2015 development agenda. Her organization focuses on environmental sustainability, human rights, poverty eradication, peace and security, equity, global responsibility and participation.

Edited by : Wayne Dean Doyle

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