Many of you have followed the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action since its inception in 1995, to the review of Beijing+5 in 2000 and now to the review and appraisal of Beijing+10. We now invite you to use this forum to express your views, concerns, experiences, priorities, progress, failures, successes and good practices in planning and implementing policies and actions on education and training of girls and women. Your contributions will inform the debates of the 49th session on the Commission of the Status of Women.
We will focus on a different topic in each of the four weeks that the discussion takes place. For each topic, we invite you to discuss the education and training of girls and women in formal and non-formal education, from early childcare and development to primary, secondary, and higher education, in vocational education and training, literacy and lifelong learning. Your comments may include achievements, constraints, gaps and the way forward.
Education and training of girls and women is a human right and an essential element for the full enjoyment of all other social, economic, cultural and political rights. The Millennium development goals (2000), the EFA and Dakar goals (2000), and the Beijing Platform have consistently placed emphasis on the importance of education in promoting gender equality and the advancement of women.
Yet as we reach the milestone year of 2005, we recognise that the goal of achieving gender parity in primary and secondary education will not be realised by at least 70 countries. The question we need to ask ourselves now, is why? What needs to be done to give this issue the importance and visibility it merits? Let us use this discussion, and the 49th session of the CSW in March 2005 as the golden opportunity to give this agenda new impetus