Moving Forward: The Global Alliance for Literacy within the Framework of Lifelong Learning (GAL) elects its Executive Management Bureau
The Global Alliance for Literacy within the Framework of Lifelong Learning (GAL), a UNESCO led initiative aiming to advance the global literacy agenda, has elected its Executive Management Bureau. The Bureau comprises seven representatives of various world regions.
Ms Kandia Kamissoko Camara, Minister of Education, Côte d'Ivoire, will represent Member States in her role as Co-Chair. She will work together with the other Co-Chair, Mr Arne Carlsen, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), who will represent UNESCO.
The newly elected Executive Management Bureau has three Vice-Chairs: Ms Gugulethu Ndebele, Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children South Africa; Ms Maria Helena Guimarães de Castro, Brazilian Deputy Minister of Education; and Ms Maria Khan, Secretary-General of the Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education (ASPBAE). Ms Khan represents the Global Campaign for Education, while Ms Guimarães de Castro and Ms Khan will report GAL’s activities to the SDG 4 – Education 2030 Steering Committee, of which Ms Guimarães de Castro is a member and Ms Khan is Vice-Chair.
In addition, Her Royal Highness Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, UNESCO Special Envoy on Literacy for Development, is an Honorary Member of the GAL Executive Management Bureau, while Dr Dan Wagner, the UNESCO Chair in Learning and Literacy, has been confirmed as Special Advisor to GAL.
The United Nations General Assembly suggested GAL to be established as a multi-stakeholder partnership to address its deep concern that the world’s literacy agenda remains unfinished: although the global adult literacy rate has been steadily increasing from 56% in 1956 to 85% in 2015, 758 million adults, two-thirds of whom are women, are still unable to read or write a simple sentence. Meanwhile 250 million children of school-going age are not acquiring basic literacy and numeracy skills. GAL therefore aims to foster a lifelong and life-wide approach to literacy and to coordinate the collaborative efforts of multiple stakeholders so as to achieve the targets set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
GAL is composed of a group of committed partners, including countries, regional entities, donors, the private sector, civil society organizations, foundations, associations, experts and others. It is facilitated and advised by a Core Group led by UNESCO and comprising eighteen members elected by UNESCO’s six electoral groups. The Core Group elects and nominates members of the Executive Management Bureau, who will coordinate GAL’s efforts to support progress in Member States. With its secretariat at UIL in Hamburg, Germany, GAL will work towards supporting countries in achieving target 4.6 of the Sustainable Development Goal on education and lifelong learning, which aims to ensure that by 2030, ‘all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy’.
GAL was officially launched by the Director-General of UNESCO, Ms Irina Bokova, during the fiftieth anniversary of International Literacy Day in September 2016. In her speech, Ms Bokova said that ‘the Alliance will enable the sharing of experience to boost innovation by focusing on concrete solutions, and by drawing on lessons learned from other partnerships conducted on this topic in the past.’ The Director-General also called upon ‘all development partners, all civil society organizations, universities and the media to follow this spirit and to join us in order to support the Global Alliance for Literacy’.