United Nations General Assembly reaffirms UNESCO’s leading role in promoting literacy
On 6 November 2018, the United Nations General Assembly adopted with consensus the resolution “Literacy for life: shaping future agenda”.
The biannual resolution entitled “Literacy for life: sharping future agenda” was adopted at the 44th plenary meeting of the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) of the General Assembly’s 73rd Session on 6 November 2018. The resolution also followed a consultation on literacy and eduction for democracy in October 2018. Traditionally introduced by Mongolia, this resolution was co-sponsored by a significant number of 102 Member States.
The resolution highlights the importance of literacy as “crucial to the acquisition by every child, young person and adult of the essential life skills that will enable them to address the challenges that they may face in life and represents an essential condition of lifelong learning”. Literacy was also recognized as “a foundation for lifelong learning, a building block for achieving human rights and fundamental freedoms and a driver of sustainable development.”
With the adoption of the resolution, the UN General Assembly recognized the “catalytic effect” of the United Nations Literacy Decade (2003–2012) as “a global framework for sustained and focused efforts for the promotion of literacy and literate environments”. It expresses again deep concern that 750 million adults lack basic literacy skills, two thirds of whom are women.
The resolution calls upon governments to “scale up literacy programmes for children, youth and adults, including older persons” to “foster innovative delivery of literacy services, including through technology and a strengthened institutional network”.
In this context, the UN General Assembly stresses UNESCO’s coordinating and catalyzing role through the implementation of the recommendations of the Global Alliance for Literacy and by continuing to provide support to Member States, in collaboration with partners, in enhancing capacities for policy formulation, programme implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
Through the adoption, the international community also reaffirms UNESCO’s mandated role of leading and coordinating the Education 2030 agenda, in particular through the Sustainable Development Goal Education 2030 Steering Committee, as an inclusive global multi-stakeholder consultation and coordination mechanism for education in the 2030 Agenda in accordance with the 2030 Agenda follow-up and review process. It also highlights.
In two years, the United Nations General Assembly will again review and adopt recommendations on the global trends in literacy based on upcoming UNESCO’s report.