Qatar will never give up on pursuing the right to education and always explore possibilities for cross-sector collaboration to support education globally, HE Sheikha Alya Ahmed Saif al-Thani, Permanent Representative of Qatar to the United Nations said Wednesday.
Giving the opening remarks at a webinar on ‘Government and Foundation Partners Demonstrate Effective Cross-sectoral Collaboration to Meet SDG4/Support 2030 Decade of Action’, Sheikha Alya said: “The collaboration between government and foundations is a key objective in the foreign policy of Qatar and achieving cross-sector collaboration through partnerships to the realisation of Sustainable Development Goals, particularly the goal for the development of education is a priority for the country.”
The webinar was organised by Education Above All Foundation (EAA) in partnership with the Permanent Mission of Qatar to the United Nations, Qatar Fund For Development (QFFD), UN Office for Partnerships, and Unesco.
Acknowledging the importance of convening the meeting on this timely topic and the challenges that education faces, Sheikha Alya said that no single organisation or strategy can change any complex social challenges such as the ones posed by education.
“This is the work we do in Qatar on the ground both at the governmental and non-governmental level. Covid-19 has proved that cross-sector collaboration is absolutely indispensable and only through collaborations can we arrive at and adapt innovative solutions to face the new realities and secure educational needs of millions of children around the world,” she said.
“Covid-19 is impacting on all aspects of education and is exhausting the pre-existing education systems by reducing opportunities for the most vulnerable groups of children. Weaker sections of children living in remote areas find themselves difficult to continue their learning,” she said.
Sheikha Alya said that EAA has been at the forefront of building and managing successful cross-sector partnerships and multi-sectoral programmes as critical tools to make meaningful programmes for sustainable development goals in education.
“EAA is well-known for its ability to pool resources, knowledge and networks in order to open doors of opportunities. Its Educate A Child Programme has facilitated the enrolment of at least 10mn out-of-school children due to poverty or social and cultural barriers or in conflict areas. This is done with partnerships with governments and other organisations,” she said.
She also noted that the 75th anniversary of the United Nations is an important opportunity for the uplifting of education.
“We need to keep up education and realise the right of education at the forefront in all settings specifically in complex settings. This is something that Qatar will continue to pursue through the work we have done by putting education on the agenda of UN in the General Assembly in 2010,” she added.
Stefania Giannini, assistant director-general for education, Unesco, outlined the impact of school closures due to Covid-19 and the potential consequences.
“We will convene a big global education meet on October 22 to discuss the major issues and to put education on the frontline. It will explore stimulus packages for education and not to leave education behind. We need everyone’s talents and resources to keep education at the centre to address the magnitude of the crisis and find solutions,” she said.
QFFD director general Khalifa Jassim al-Kuwari and EAA CEO Fahad al-Sulaiti also addressed the gathering.
A panel discussion featuring ministers, several educational experts and CEOs discussed the current challenges in education. The participants discussed ways to enhance collaboration among vital actors, specifically countries, civil society and foundations, policymakers, and institutions engaged in education, development and humanitarian responses to accelerate progress on SDG4 and the related SDGs targets.