Update on Pre-CONFINTEA Activities in North America and Latin America

North America

ALE colleagues in Canada and the US are gearing up to read and respond to the draft Marrakesh Framework for Action (MFfA), slated for release via UNESCO’s Institute for Lifelong Learning website sometime around mid-March.
 
In Canada, a country-wide virtual consultation was organized on February 9 by Daniel Baril of the Institut de coopération pour l’éducation des adults (ICÉA)
           
Twenty-four participants representing a wide range of ALE civil society organizations and the Canadian Commission for UNESCO received a briefing on the opportunities to provide input to the Framework for Action before and during CONFINTEA VII, scheduled in Marrakesh, Morocco in mid-June. Participants discussed key priorities for the support and development of ALE that they hope will be in the draft MFfA.
 
There will be a limited time—expected on the order of 10 days—to read and respond to the draft, so everyone was encouraged to monitor the UIL website for release of the draft, to read it carefully, and respond quickly to ensure important priorities are given adequate attention and emphasis.
 
ALE colleagues in the US are also preparing to respond to the draft. Linda Morris of the Coalition of Lifelong Learning Organizations (COLLO) has briefed the Coalition’s members on the expected timeline for the draft’s release, and has urged them to participate actively to ensure that the priorities of US-based ALE providers are reflected in the final Framework.
 
US colleagues remain hopeful that the US Government will soon rejoin UNESCO. If that happens, it will likely be too late for the US to have a formal delegation at CONFINTEA, but there are less formal pathways being explored so their views can find their way into the drafting process.
 
So ALE colleagues in North America are eagerly awaiting release of the draft Framework in March and are looking forward to contributing their perspective on what commitments are needed from governments and others to support the important role ALE must play in achieving all of the SDGs.

Tom Sork, ICAE Vice-president, North America

Latin America

With CONFINTEA just four and a half months away, there is little to report with regard to government inspired mobilization for the Conference in the region. Civil society organizations, on the other hand, are working hard to stimulate discussion concerning the principal themes of the Conference and concerning the challenges which ALE faces in Latin America, especially with the complication of the ongoing COVID pandemic. In Brazil alone there were 939 deaths from COVID on the day that I prepared this short report (23/02)

The UNESCO Chair in Youth and Adult Education (EPJA) at the University of the Republic in Montevideo, Uruguay, will host an international meeting on ALE on 10th and 11th March to discuss the theme of “The education of young people and adults: relevance and contributions. On the road to CONFINTEA VII”. The coordinator of the Chair, Jorge Camors, is a member of ICAE. ICAE will take part in one of the panel discussions as will several other organizations who are members of the Council. The event will be hybrid.

The other UNESCO Chair in Youth and Adult Education at the Federal University of Paraiba in João Pessoa, Brazil, established as part of the legacy of CONFINTEA VI in 2009, will also host an Inter/national Dialogue on Adult Learning and Education in partnership with the Santillana Foundation at which representatives from UNDIME, CONSED and UNCME will discuss the challenges for ALE in Brazil at present in the light of the approaching conference. This will be held on 1st April and transmitted via YouTube.

Lastly, the Latin American Platform of Regional Networks for Youth and Adult Education, set up during the preparations for the Latin American sub-regional consultation in July/2021, is organising two Regional Meetings on 9th and 11th March. The first will discuss “Pathways, meanings and themes for Debate at CONFINTEA VII from Latin America and the Caribbean”. The second will discuss “Proposals and recommendations for CONFINTEA VII from LAC”. The objective of these meetings is to stimulate discussion and mobilization at the national level.  Time is now of the essence. We need to remind ourselves of that call from the Belém Framework of Action to advance from rhetoric to action.

Timothy Ireland, ICAE-Vice President, Latin America

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