2 February 2018 – Stressing the importance of quality education for the future of young people and children, senior United Nations officials, including the head of its education agency and the UN youth envoy, called for cooperation to strengthen education and learning programmes in all corners of the world.

“No single country or agency can tackle the challenges of demographics, persisting conflicts, unequal access of girls and women to education, radicalization by groups with vested interests or environment degradation,” Audrey Azoulay, the Director-General of the UN Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said in a Tweet (in French), referring to her participation at the Global Partnership for Education Financing Conference.

“Partnership is the only way to make this possible,” she added.

Convened by the Presidents of France and Senegal, in Dakar, the Conference seeks to raise funds to support education efforts in both humanitarian and non-humanitarian contexts. It is also the first time that a donor and a developing country are co-hosting the event.

Also speaking at the Conference, Jayathma Wickramanayake, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, highlighted the importance of empowering young people with the skills they would need to adapt in a fast changing work.

“In a world of rapidly advancing digital technologies and artificial intelligence that will impact the outlook of the future of work, we have to rethink our approaches on skills development,” said Ms. Wickramanayake.

“Beyond traditional classroom interventions, investing in non-formal and informal learning is essential to developing skills that fit the world of tomorrow,” she added.

With over half the global population under the age of 25, the world “cannot afford to not invest in education,” expressed Ms. Wickramanayake and urged leaders and policy makers to redouble their efforts to ensure that every young person can enjoy their universal right to education.