Joint Press Release: UNESCO and UNICEF commend Iraq’s commitment to transform national education by engaging in the Transforming Education Summit

The Statement shows Iraq´s commitment to focus on reforms associated with the education sector, in terms of equity and inclusion, quality and relevance.

17 August 2022

Baghdad, 17 August 2022 – UNICEF and UNESCO have commended today Iraq for the submission of the National Statement of Commitment for the upcoming Transforming Education Summit (TES), that will take place in New York from 16 to 19 September. This Commitment outlines a bold vision and concrete actions for the transformation of education to drive progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and better prepare learners for the future.

The Statement was presented by the Prime Minister´s Advisory Commission (the national coordinator of the Summit), after holding a series of national consultations among the relevant ministries, higher education institutions, civil society organizations and development partners in Iraq, including the European Union as co-chair of the Education Sector Coordination Group, as well as UNESCO, UNICEF, the International Labour Organization International, and the World Food Programme.

In this regard, the submission of Iraq´s National Statement of Commitment is a major step forward in Iraq’s efforts to respond to a global crisis in education, capturing national commitments and consensus on priority actions, building on existing plans, programmes, and initiatives.

“UNESCO congratulates Iraq for the National Statement of Commitment which reiterates the vision, strategic directions, policies and programmes for education detailed in the draft Iraq National Education Strategy 2022 - 2031 (INES), which UNESCO supported to develop,” said Paolo Fontani, Director and UNESCO Representative in Iraq. UNESCO is committed to support the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs in enhancing the institutional and technical capacities to ensure effective implementation and monitoring of the INES and National Statement of Commitment.

“UNICEF welcomes Iraq´s focus on the policy, planning and budgetary changes needed to recover learning losses, get the Sustainable Development Goal 4 on track and reimagine education into the future,” said Sheema SenGupta, UNICEF Representative in Iraq. “UNICEF will continue to support the Government of Iraq, with a special focus on the Ministry of Education, to implement all the reforms reflected in the National Statement of Commitment.”

 The TES is organized at a critical moment, in which the COVID-19 pandemic has aggravated the digital divide, as the global lockdown increased the risk of children being left out of school. The Summit will focus in addressing issues related to educational exclusion, safety, and health (especially mental health), transforming the teaching profession, renewing curricula and pedagogies and steering the digital transformation for just and equitable learning, and ensuring the availability of financing.

UNESCO and UNICEF have provided technical support to the Government of Iraq throughout the process leading to the TES, including the participation in the Pre-Summit in Paris on 29-30 June 2022 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, which served to capture the evolving discussions and generate greater momentum in the lead up to the Summit in September.

What is the Transforming Education Summit (TES)?

The Transforming Education Summit is a key initiative of Our Common Agenda launched by UN Secretary-General (SG), Antonio Guterres. TES brings together global, national, and local education stakeholders and actors, it offers an opportunity for inclusive, networked, and effective global dialogue on the types of coordinated actions needed to reverse the slide on progress towards SDG4, to ensure that lessons are learned from pandemic responses for resilience, social prosperity and environmental sustainability in the post-COVID world, and to think big on how we imagine education systems of the future.

Taking place during the 77th session of the UN General Assembly on 16-19 September 2022, the Summit is an SG-convened event with a view to elevating education to the top of the global political agenda and to maximizing public awareness and engagement. It expects to fully mobilize the support of all UN Member States, development partners, civil society and youth organizations, and all other partners and stakeholders in education and beyond.

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