Joint Oral Statement: New report takes firm approach to the implementation of the right to education and Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4)
I have the honour to speak on behalf of six organisations: ActionAid International, Amnesty International, the Equal Education Law Centre, the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Initiative for Social and Economic Rights, and the Right to Education Initiative.
Our organisations would like to warmly welcome the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to education. The UN Special Rapporteur articulates a fresh and practical approach for States to work towards the effective implementation of SDG 4 and fulfil their obligations with regard to the right to education.
SDG 4 is an important tool to advance towards the elimination of educational inequalities and ensure access to quality and accountable education for all. However, as the UN Special Rapporteur illustrates, SDG 4 can only be effectively realised if it is implemented in accordance with the right to education. In this regard, we commend the Special Rapporteur’s detailed analysis of the Abidjan Principles on the right to education, which makes a compelling case for using the Abidjan Principles as a tool to successfully implement SDG 4.
The Abidjan Principles on the right to education were adopted in February 2019, following a three-year consultation process, by over 50 of some of the most eminent experts on the right to education worldwide. They clarify existing legal human rights obligations of States regarding the right to education, including regarding the funding of public education and the possible involvement and limitations of private actors. As such, they do not create any new legal obligation, and constitute useful expert guidelines States can draw from.
Since their adoption with the support the Ministry of Education of Ivory Coast, the Abidjan Principles have been receiving broad support by a variety of stakeholders, including in a resolution published earlier in June by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Civil society organisations, all around the world, also firmly support the Abidjan Principles. For instance, in the joint paper on education issued ahead of the forthcoming G7 meeting, 58 civil society organisations are asking States to take a leading role in the implementation of the Abidjan Principles.
The UN Special Rapporteur’s latest report provides a cutting-edge and much-needed pathway for all stakeholders to mobilise together for the success of SDG 4 in accordance with the right to education. We urge the State Parties to support the UN Special Rapporteur’s report, and to consider the use of the Abidjan Principles to inform their efforts to implement SDG 4 and their education programs, both domestically and through development aid.
Watch a side event discussion with the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to education, following her presentation to the Human Rights Council on her report on the implementation of the right to education and Sustainable Development Goal 4 in the context of the growth of private actors in education.