Panel on Human Rights Mainstreaming (Geneva, 1 March 2013)

“Education is a major driving force for human development”, stated UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the opening of the High Level Panel on Human Rights Mainstreaming, held on the 1st of March during the 22th Session of the Human Rights Council. In addition, he argued that education “opens doors to the job market, combats inequality, improves maternal health, reduces child mortality, fosters solidarity, and promotes environmental stewardship. Education empowers people with the knowledge, skills and values they need to build a better world”

Furthermore, The UN Secretary General launched his new initiative – Education First – focused on three main priorities: achieving universal primary education by 2015; improving the quality of learning, and fostering global citizenship through promotion of peace, mutual respect and environmental care. Ban Ki Moon also invited all the world leaders and civil society to join this initiative in order to make quality education available to all children, young people and adults in every country.
The other panelists were: Mr. Luís Brites Pereira, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Portugal, Ms. Navanathem Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, H.E.  Sheika  Moza bint Nasser, Consort of His Highness the Emir of the State of Qatar, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development and UNESCO’s Special Envoy for Basic and Higher Education, Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, Assistant-Secretary-General and Special Advisor of the Secretary-General on Post-2015 Development Planning, Ms. Irina Bokova, Director-General, UNESCO, Mr. Guy Ryder, Director-General, ILO, Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General, WHO, Ms. Rebeca Grynspan, Under-Secretary-General and Associate Administrator, UNDP, Ms. Yoka Brandt, Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF.
Ms. Pillay acknowledged that the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDG) need to be based on human rights approach and highlights the importance of the universal right to education. Luís Brites Pereira said that the mainstreaming of human rights should be included in the drafting of post-2015 development agenda. He also specified that poverty eradication and inclusive economic growth are central to the promotion of human rights all over the world.
Sheikha Moza bint Nasser also said that right to education, tolerance and equality are indispensable for human development in the view of the post-2015 MDG. A similar concept was expressed by Amina J. Mohammed, who remarked that eradicating extreme poverty and guaranteeing rights to health and education services are crucial for development.
Margaret Chan, argued that education lifted the status of women, and that universal healthcare is crucial to achieving the Millennium Development Goals while Rebeca Grynspan said that human rights based approaches were essential to cope with growing inequalities. Finally, Yoka Brandt concluded that access to education should be included as  priority in the post-2015 development agenda.
During the interactive dialogue many delegations emphasized the importance of high-quality education for the full implementation and enjoyment of human rights and for sustainable development. Member States agreed that eradication of extreme poverty and access to healthcare and employment were fundamental and should be included in the post-2015 development agenda.