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International Literacy Day 2015

25 September 2015

This year’s International Literacy Day (ILD) was an important occasion for looking back at past progress and looking forward for ways to tenaciously pursue the unfinished literacy agenda in the next 15 years.

The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) collaborated with UNESCO Headquarters to organise the global meeting in Paris, France on 8-9 September. The meeting on ‘Literacy and Sustainable Societies’, brought together approximately 100 participants from 34 countries around the globe to reaffirm literacy as a human right for all and a catalyst for sustainable development.

Setting strategic directions

UIL contributed to the International Literacy Day by sharing its new publications on different aspects of literacy and its expertise on how to translate the expanded vision of literacy into action. The Institute also advocated for an understanding of literacy as a continuum of proficiency levels advanced through lifelong learning in formal, non-formal and informal settings, especially for young people and adults. The meeting concluded with the adoption of the Paris Communiqué on ‘Literacy and Sustainable Societies’ in which UNESCO was charged with advancing an international literacy agenda by creating a Global Alliance for Literacy, within the framework of lifelong learning.

Communiqué calling for a Global Alliance for Literacy

‘The fact that this year’s Communiqué on Literacy and Sustainable Societies has come up with one central and clear recommendation that calls for the creation of a global alliance for literacy within the framework of lifelong learning, is a strong message from UNESCO Member States of their readiness to work together towards sustainable literacy’, said Arne Carlsen, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning based in Hamburg, Germany.

The Communiqué also provides the following strategic directions for sustained progress towards a literate world:

  • ensuring equitable access to quality literacy learning opportunities as a crucial foundation of lifelong learning;
  • allocating adequate and sustainable financial resources;
  • encouraging innovative approaches to the teaching and learning of literacy;
  • enriching the knowledge base, monitoring and assessment;
  • building robust lifelong learning systems and partnerships; and
  • enhancing demand for literacy.

Mr. Qian Tang, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Education, in his closing remarks at the global meeting said, ‘One of the main things highlighted by the Communiqué is the interrelation between literacy and sustainable development in achieving the “2030 vision of literacy,” which is a forward looking vision that UNESCO members have been yearning for.’

This year’s International Literacy Day gives renewed momentum to UIL’s activities and an opportunity to lead the process of establishing the new multi-stakeholder partnership on behalf of UNESCO. ILD 2015 encourages UIL to continue using its expertise and long standing experience in the fields of youth and adult literacy, as well as lifelong learning, to support Member States in realising the world we want: a literate, inclusive, peaceful and equitable world.