Education International policy document on development cooperation

published 24 March 2011 updated 15 December 2021

Adopted by the 36th Executive Board meeting, 22-24 March 2011

Education International Development Cooperation policies, principles and objectives.

Solidarity constitutes one of the main principles of the trade union movement. The relations and interactions inherent within the trade union movement are recognised as one of the most powerful precursors to social justice.

Solidarity is expressed by creating equal opportunities for not only trade union members, but for all individuals and groups everywhere. Solidarity recognises our colleagues and comrades as equals. Exchange and interchange signify a relationship of equals, a cornerstone of social justice.

Development Cooperation:

  • constitutes an important tool for international trade union solidarity;
  • helps to promote social, political and economic justice;
  • contributes to positive transformation and developmental change within society;
  • facilitates understanding of economic, social and labour problems in the world;
  • helps people to become aware of their democratic and trade union rights and responsibilities whilst challenging societies to meet the needs of their people;
  • influences and contributes to develop and improve the public education sector
  • contributes to gender equality by fighting against all forms of discrimination in unions and at the workplace.

As Education International member organisations we are all guided by a political framework that constitutes the basis of all DC cooperation.

Education International considers Development Cooperation as a core business for two main reasons: first, to expand access to quality public education for all everywhere in the world as a human and social right and, secondly, to organise the teacher and education workers’ trade union movement to promote, defend and expand the rights of teachers and education personnel. As EI member organisations, we are all guided by a political framework that constitutes the basis of all DC-cooperation.

Three major global crises -climate, food and economic - confront and challenge us. For Education International, global crises such as these are best met with a collective and inclusive approach. Underscoring that approach is a fundamental belief that all people have a right to access good quality education and that all workers should be guaranteed good working conditions so that social, political and economic justice prevails in society.

The work of EI member unions to strengthen and promote education unions around the globe predates EI’s founding Congress in Stockholm in 1993.

Since its inception Education International, together with its affiliates, has remained deeply committed to carrying out Development Cooperation in accordance with the principles and standards defined in this policy document.


At its Second World Congress (Washington DC 1998) EI members passed a Resolution on Development Cooperation which

  • establishes the basic principles that serve as guidelines for cooperation within EI and outlined the need for ongoing and open debate on the quality of DC activities;
  • emphasises transparency, effectiveness and clarity, critical dialogue and respect for each other’s demands and priorities;
  • highlights the need for ‘in depth’ insight in to structure and outlines between the cooperating partners;
  • recognises EI’s coordinating role;
  • calls on EI and its members to meet the 0.7% income allocation to DC work and called on member organisations to raise awareness across their membership about DC work.

At its Fourth World Congress (Porto Alegre 2004) EI members further developed some of these mandates by voting on two resolutions (Education for Global Progress and Promoting Quality Education) which underscores the organisational commitment of EI to

  • contribute to the achievement of the MDGs and take actions to support member organisations, especially in those countries most affected by the policies of the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) which undermine trade union values and rights and the right to quality education.

Latterly, in July 2007, at the Fifth World Congress in Berlin, EI member organisations approved two Resolutions (Joining together to build a more effective Union Movement and United for greater Justice) which,

  • declares EI’s continuing commitment to international union development cooperation as an integrated and core element of trade union policy;
  • mandates the EI Executive Board to encourage all member organisations to become actively engaged in bi-lateral and multilateral trade union development cooperation programmes, ensuring financial and human resources ;
  • resolves to develop further strategies and plans that ensure the accomplishment of the goals of the national unions;
  • reaffirms commitments to unions working towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, Education for All and Social Justice by calling on member organisations in OECD and other donor countries to lobby their governments to allocate a decisively higher share of their budget to education in general and for transparency of expenditure from these funds.


The objective of Development Cooperation within EI is to assist in the development of independent and democratic education unions in order for them to:

  • Represent and defend the interest of union members: promote trade union rights, international labour standards (through ILO Core Conventions), freedom of association, the right to form a trade union, to collective bargaining and to undertake actions; responds to equality fighting all kinds of discrimination; and provide a high quality of service to union members.
  • Defend the status of teachers and education workers and promote the teaching profession: improve the working and employment conditions and professional status and promote the professional liberties of education sector workers and the right to participate in education policy-making and social dialogue.
  • Work towards the Education for All and Millennium Development goals: promote peace, democracy, social justice, equality and human rights through solidarity; assist in the reduction of poverty through education; assist in building sustainable communities and environments; assist with conflict resolution; and help with reconstruction/rehabilitation after natural and human disasters, particularly with regard to access to education.

The objectives articulated above are drawn broadly recognising that cooperating organisations will develop their own focus as is appropriate to them, within this overarching indicative framework.


The following principles, based on trade union values of solidarity, respect, collectivism and cooperation, should form the basis of Development Cooperation within EI.


  • grounded in solidarity, equality, strategy, exchange, co-responsibility, respect and inclusion;
  • working towards equal relationships and partnerships;
  • emphasises cooperation, dialogue, exchange and the sharing of skills, experience and expertise;
  • inclusive and based on a mutual commitment;
  • favours cooperation with other civil society organisations where appropriate.
  • accommodates with cultural diversity

Need-based and context-specific

  • an opportunity for all partners to work together towards meeting their needs; based on self-evaluation and joint analysis between the partners;
  • linked to objectives, strategic plans and mindful of the political and administrative procedures of the partners;
  • based on specific contexts;
  • rooted in the membership of all partners and built on their respective strengths.

Accountable and transparent

  • based on sharing of information among partners and more widely;
  • transparent and accountable to membership and constituencies.


  • favouring sustainability a long-term commitment of all parties
  • but nonetheless recognising, where appropriate, short-term interventions to facilitate the transfer of specific technical skills and knowledge.

Strategic and adjustable

  • carried out with clear objectives, time tables, action plans and roles and responsibilities of all partners;
  • capable of capacity building for all partners to meet agreed objectives;
  • adjustable to changing circumstances.

2. Roles and responsibilities of the partners involved in Development Cooperation

Furthermore, the various stakeholders recognise their specific responsibility to guarantee both appropriate and effective interventions in the context of their Development Cooperation work.

All DC partners will:

  • act in accordance with the principles stated above
  • participate in the development, monitoring and evaluation of DC partnerships
  • be accountable to their constituents and respective members with regard to involvement in DC partnerships
  • be central players in planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating DC activities
  • adhere to the reporting requirements and other commitments and obligations in accordance with agreement between partners
  • ensure appropriate human and financial capacity to carry out the DC activities agreed upon
  • inform all stakeholders of any significant developments or concerns that may prejudice the effective implementation of the DC activities as agreed
  • be transparent about all financial matters
  • respect democratically agreed political priorities of each others organisations
  • work to have contingency strategies to ensure funding of projects and programs in the event of cutbacks and/or interruptions in back-donor funding
  • ensure transparency about funding sources and their DC policy
  • actively work to keep informed of EI policy, DC strategies and priorities
  • provide information to EI for the EI database on DC activities
  • cooperate and share information with other EI member organisations involved in the same country or with the same organisation
  • make efforts to build the institutional capacity of all unions seek to promote the greater involvement of young people and women in trade unionism

More specifically, EI at the Head and Regional Offices will:

  • provide local and regional contextual information about the member organisations in the region upon request
  • assist in matching funding opportunities with identified needs of member unions
  • analyse DC work in the region with a view to disseminate learning and best practice across the region to all interested EI members
  • assist in facilitating strong relationships between DC partners
  • participate in DC partnership activities upon request and when feasible
  • inform interested stakeholders whenever duplication of efforts are detected
  • facilitate the dissemination of information received from EI members on DC partnerships
  • provide strategies and priorities based on EI resolutions/policies, to guide affiliates’ DC activities
  • update the DC database to reflect the information received from partners and thus be a repository for general information on DC work
  • provide information of latest trends in Development and Cooperation work in relation to the trade union movement
  • take a lead where appropriate in the implementation of multi-lateral DC networks or partnerships
  • ensure coordination of DC with all other EI activities
  • promote DC activities widely among EI members
  • act as an advocate for DC with global institutions and governments.