On the eve of International Literacy Day, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on governments and their partners, including in the private sector, to join forces for universal literacy and build peaceful, just, inclusive and sustainable societies – a vision set out in the new global development agenda.
“This year, the world has embarked on implementing the ambitious and transformational 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. With its 17 universal, integrated and interdependent Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the 2030 Agenda is an action plan for people, planet, partnership and peace,” the UN chief said in his message for the occasion.
“Literacy stands at heart of the 2030 Agenda,” he added. “It is a foundation for human rights, gender equality, and sustainable societies. It is essential to all our efforts to end extreme poverty and promote well-being for all people. That is why the Sustainable Development Goals aim for universal access to quality education and learning opportunities throughout people’s lives.”
However, the Secretary-General noted, while significant progress has been made over the past five decades, “the world is still very far from universal literacy,” and he called on governments and their partners, including in the private sector, to “join forces for universal literacy so we can translate the vision of the 2030 Agenda into reality and build peaceful, just, inclusive and sustainable societies.”
Literacy Day marks 50th anniversary
This year marks the 50th anniversary since the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) proclaimed 8 September as International Literacy Day in 1966 in order to actively mobilize the international community and to promote literacy as an instrument to empower individuals, communities and societies. According to UNESCO, this year’s theme is ‘Reading the Past, Writing the Future,’ and celebrates the past five decades of national and international engagement, efforts and progress made to increase literacy rates around the world. It also addresses current challenges and looks to innovative solutions to further boost literacy in the future.