Transforming Education Takes Center Stage At 77th UN General Assembly

the “Transforming Education Summit” to be convened by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres

Photos: United Nations\YouTube

The 77th regular session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 77) convenes in ten days time at UN Headquarters, New York, on Tuesday, September 13. The theme of UNGA 77 is “A watershed moment: transformative solutions to interlocking challenges.” Several high-level meetings have been scheduled to take place during the three-month long session. Among the critical issues that will be addressed is the crisis in global education.

The President of UNGA 77 is Ambassador Csaba Korosi, Director of Environmental Sustainability, Office of the President of Hungary. He was elected by the UN General Assembly on June 7 and will be assisted by 21 Vice Presidents elected from five regional groups, namely, African Group, Asia & Pacific Group, Eastern European Group, Latin American & Caribbean Group (GRULAC) and Western European & Others Group (WEOG).

The first high-level meeting which takes place from September 16-19 is the “Transforming Education Summit” to be convened by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in response to a global crisis in Education. The crisis which affects most countries, including Uganda, is one of equity and inclusion as well as quality and relevance. The crisis in Education is having devastating effects and impact on the future of children and youth globally. The Education Summit provides a golden opportunity to elevate Education to the top of the global political agenda and mobilize appropriate action and resources to address this burning crisis which is manifested at national and local levels.

According to the Charter of the UN signed in San Francisco, USA, on June 26, 1945, the primary purpose of the world organization is “to maintain international peace and security.” I believe the UN has, by and large, succeeded in fulfilling its principal objective. Despite several internal and regional conflicts which have flared up since 1945, there has been no World War for 77 years since the end of World War II in 1945. This, in my opinion, is a major and significant achievement against the background of the fact that following the end of World War I on November 11, 1918, it took only 21 years for a more disastrous conflict to erupt on September 1, 1939, namely World War II. The credit for this long period of world peace and security goes to the United Nations.

Another purpose of the United Nations which is pertinent for developing countries like Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania is “to achieve international cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural or humanitarian character and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.”

The above important purpose of the United Nations has been effectively implemented since 1945 by the Economic and Social Council, its subsidiaries and Specialized Agencies of the United Nations System, such as, UNICEF, UNESCO, UNHCR, WHO, FAO, UNDP, UNIFEM, UNFPA, IMF and World Bank. The very useful work which these organizations have done is familiar to and touches the lives of millions of Ugandans, Kenyans, Tanzanians and Africans.

UNGA 77 has 178 items on its Agenda covering everything under the sun, including climate change, disarmament questions, global warming, eradication of poverty, Law of the Sea, outer space, advancement of women, promotion of human rights and promotion of sustainable development. These issues will be discussed in Part 2 of this Opinion piece.

On a sad note, death has robbed Uganda of a friend, distinguished economist, seasoned politician, patriot, Pan-Africanist and a fellow member of the Uganda Peoples Congress, Yona Kanyomozi, who passed on at Nakasero Hospital, Kampala, on Sunday, August 28. I would like to convey heartfelt condolences to Mrs Kanyomozi and the bereaved family.

Yona was a regular reader of this column and often called to give me useful feedback and insights. May his soul rest in eternal peace!