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Five years after world leaders embraced the goal of universal basic education, champions of girls’ education and equity met to analyze why efforts are falling short and to identify steps for accelerating progress.
Schools are open to girls again in remote villages across Afghanistan. In Bangladesh, after offering parents payments of wheat and rice to send their daughters to school, girls now outnumber boys in secondary schools, although overall enrollments for boys and girls remain very low. In Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania enrollments have surged after far-sighted leaders abolished school fees.
Yet 104 million children are still deprived of a basic education in dozens of impoverished nations around the globe, and 60 percent of these youngsters are girls. Of the 40 million children in the world who are physically or mentally handicapped, 90 percent are not in school. Furthermore, many out of school children belong to ethnic or language minorities or are in families displaced by war and conflicts.
Champions of girls’ education and equity met in Washington, D.C., on March 2 to chart the path forward. Five years ago, leaders from 189 countries – including the United States and every major industrialized nation – endorsed the Millennium Declaration from which a set of eight Millennium Development Goals were drawn for eradicating hunger, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, reducing child mortality and maternal deaths, safeguarding the environment, achieving universal primary education and promoting gender equality and empowering women by 2015.
The leaders made bold their desire to tackle the elimination of gender disparities in elementary and secondary enrollments by 2005. The very name of the conference signaled their failure to achieve this milestone: Missing the Mark: Girls’ Education and the Way Forward.
An overflow crowd of more than 300 heard from Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE) offer bipartisan perspectives on why the United States must make good on promises to give education and development a higher place in its foreign policy priorities; from Jeffrey Sachs, the internationally renowned economist who directs the U.N. Millennium Project; from international panels including leading educators from Nigeria, Bangladesh and Colombia and senior officials from the Population Council, UNESCO, UNICEF, U.K. Department for International Development and the World Bank; and from Gene Sperling, the former Clinton administration national economic adviser who spearheads the Council on Foreign Relations’ new Center for Universal Education.
The event was organized by the Center for Global Development (CGD), the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) and the UN Millennium Project. Nancy Birdsall, president of CGD, Geeta Rao Gupta, president of ICRW, and Amina Ibrahim, national coordinator of Education for All in Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Education, also led the UN Millennium Project Task Force on Education and Gender Equality, which released two major reports in January that offered practical blueprints for closing the education and equity gaps by 2015.
Millennium Project Task Force Leaders on Education and Gender Equality Nancy Birdsall - President, Center for Global Development Geeta Rao Gupta - President, International Center for Research on Women Amina J. Ibrahim - National Coordinator, Education for All, Federal Ministry of Education, Nigeria
Two panel discussions took place:
Panel One: Reaching Universal Primary Education and Gender Parity: Challenges for National Governments and Donors
Chair -Amina J. Ibrahim Findings and Recommendations for the Education Sector from the UN Millennium Project Task Force on Education and Gender Equality
Vicky Colbert de Arboleda Executive Director, Escuela Nueva, Back to the People Foundation Experiences from Colombia
Desmond Bermingham U.K. Department for International Development Donor Challenges
Elizabeth King Research Manager, Development Research Group, World Bank Making the Donor Relationship Work
Nicholas Burnett Director, Education for All, Global Monitoring Report, UNESCO Closing Comments on Strategies for Moving Forward
Panel Two: Gender Parity: Why Secondary Education Is Critical to the MDGs
Chair - Geeta Rao Gupta Gender Equality Findings and Recommendations for Gender Equality from the UN Millennium Project Task Force on Education and Gender Equality
Cynthia Lloyd Director of Social Science Research, Population Council Chair, National Academy of Sciences Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries: Importance of Secondary Education Dilara Hafiz Director of Secondary and Higher Education, Ministry of Education, Bangladesh Experiences from Bangladesh
Spending on health products tops $50 billion annually in just a subset of low- and middle-income countries. And a large share of health aid goes to the same use. But despite its importance for spending and health outcomes, the procurement of medicines and other health products remains a neglected health system function. On the eve of the high-level meeting, this networking and learning reception will highlight how more effective procurement can accelerate progress towards expanding access to medicines and other key health products. The reception will feature policymakers from around the world, discussing national and global challenges and opportunities on the path towards smarter procurement.
This event draws from the final report of CGD’s Working Group on the Future of Global Health Procurement, which found that tackling inefficient procurement practices can help stretch scarce health resources further and accelerate progress toward the health-related Sustainable Development Goals. The Working Group offered four actionable recommendations to elevate procurement as an essential health system function.
The Saving One Million Lives (SOML) program for results (PforR) aims to increase the utilization and quality of high impact reproductive, child health, and nutrition interventions in Nigeria. SOML was originally created in 2012 to address Nigeria’s slow progress on improving health status and health services. Since 2015, the initiative has received assistance from the World Bank through a “cash-on-delivery” (COD) approach in which the disbursement of funds is directly linked to the achievement of specific program results. This PforR funding mechanism by the World Bank uses country systems and processes and gives health managers substantial autonomy in achieving health results. Four years into the SOML PforR’s implementation, join us to explore lessons learned.
Over the last 25 years, Mexico has benefited from robust trade and financial integration with North America and strong domestic macroeconomic and financial stability, although much remains to be done on the socioeconomic front.
Against this backdrop, the economy is currently facing strong domestic and external headwinds. At home, the economy has slowed since last year, with real GDP contracting 0.2% in 1Q2019, reflecting low productivity in Mexico and softer growth in the United States. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has announced protectionist policies, which are not supportive of private investment. From the external side, the lingering uncertainties about Trump’s tariffs on Mexico's imports could have a major negative impact.
How should Mexico deal with these challenges? The Latin American Committee on Macroeconomic and Financial Issues (CLAAF) will discuss central questions on a) the best policy responses to market uncertainties, b) the best way to deal with the immigration flood, which is playing a key role in Trump's new tariff threats, c) what Mexico’s policymakers can learn from the recent experiences in Argentina and Brazil, and d) the most pressing reforms needed to restore investors’ confidence and Mexico's economic growth.
A light breakfast and coffee will be available at 9:30 a.m.
In recent years, Latin American countries have undertaken major fiscal consolidation measures in an effort to reduce their deficits and accumulation of debt. Despite improvements in fiscal position throughout the region, the rate of inequality reduction has slowed, capital spending (in terms of GDP) has fallen to its lowest levels since 2007 and fiscal revenues remain insufficient to finance achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Amid an uncertain macroeconomic context and fiscal consolidation, this slowdown requires a fine-tuning of policy measures. This event launches the new CEPAL Publication Fiscal Panorama of Latin America and the Caribbean, 2019, examining the role of tax policy in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The paper analyses the constraints of domestic resource mobilization caused by fiscal incentives and how these incentives could, instead, be geared towards investment to foster sustainable and inclusive development.
Over the past two decades tremendous progress has been made to improve girls’ access to schooling. Data on learning similarly shows that gender gaps are closing or largely closed. Yet education systems are still failing to meet one important objective: achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment in terms of adult life outcomes. Against the backdrop of improvements in schooling and learning, women still bear the brunt of inequalities in female income, political participation, exposure to gender-based violence and reproductive autonomy. The panel will attempt to answer a key question: how can girls’ education improve adult life outcomes for women?