Education International welcomes the commitments made in Pittsburgh to put “quality jobs at the heart of the recovery” and “to strengthen support for the most vulnerable.” G20 announcements of more coordinated measures for recovery and growth, stronger financial regulation, and a role for the ILO all go in the right direction, but Global Unions have pointed out that much more needs to be done.
An important initiative will be a US-hosted meeting of G20 Labour Ministers in early 2010 which will include skills development policies.
However, the G20 failed to follow up on important statements about the role of education that were adopted at the G8 held in July and attended by almost all of the same leaders.
The G20 Leaders expressed concern that “over four billion people remain uneducated,” as well as their concern with “the adverse impact of the global crisis on low income countries’ (LICs) capacity to protect critical core spending in areas such as health, education, safety nets and infrastructure.” They also reaffirmed their “historic commitment to meet the Millennium Development Goals.”
EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen commented that expressing concern is simply not enough.
“As we have said so often, we need action, not just concern,” van Leeuwen said. “We will have to redouble our efforts to drive home EI’s two key messages that investing in education is crucial for sustainable recovery, and that everyone has a right to quality education.”
“The G8 leaders supported those two messages quite clearly in July, and 20 other national leaders were there as well. So it is worrying that virtually the same group conveyed a narrower vision at the G20 three months later,” he added.
The leaders also announced that they had designated the G20 as “the premier forum for our international economic cooperation.” 2010 will be a transition year, with Canada hosting both the G8 and the G20.