Closing the Digital Divide
The aim of the Declaration is to build consensus and commitments through collective collaboration between key stakeholders, address key barriers to connectivity and highlight the need for an ecosystem for meaningful connectivity that ensures affordability, usability and reliability for learners and communities.
Work on the Declaration commenced in February 2021 and will continue throughout the year in the run up to the RewirEd Summit in December 2021, which will provide the ideal platform for its launch during Expo 2020 Dubai.
As part of its key efforts to drive forward the Global Declaration on Connectivity for Education, Dubai Cares is also committed to mobilizing support for UNICEF and the International Telecommunications Union's (ITU) GIGA initiative and UNESCO’s Global Education Coalition for COVID-19 Response, both of which will play a vital role in developing, advocating, and further supporting the Declaration.
Key Declaration Milestones
UNICEF and ITU's GIGA initiative aims to connect every school around the world to the internet. GIGA, which is part of UNICEF’s flagship youth initiative Generation Unlimited, is a project led by UNICEF and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to connect every young person to information, as well as support the immediate response to COVID-19 by looking at how connectivity can create stronger infrastructures of support and opportunity. Dubai Cares was also one of the main supporters of Generation Unlimited that was launched at the 2018 UN General Assembly. Dubai Cares’ funding has supported a business case for digital connectivity in January 2019. The business case findings have informed the objectives of UNICEF’s GIGA initiative.
UNESCO Global Education Coalition (GEC)
In May 2020, Dubai Cares joined the UNESCO Global Education Coalition (GEC), a multi-sector partnership that brings together international organizations, private sector and civil society to identify innovative new ways of delivering education through remote learning during COVID-19. Connectivity is a central theme and flagship of the Coalition’s work.
UNESCO’s role as a convener and knowledge-broker will ensure proper coordination and facilitation of a Member State process of mobilizing political commitment through the endorsement of the Declaration. This initiative will adopt a similar process as the one established for launching the Safe Schools Declaration. It will, thereby, seek to mobilize non-binding political commitment to the principle of the right to connectivity in order to realize the right to education. The Declaration could lay the ground for a more ambitious initiative aimed at elaborating a General Comment on connectivity in education to the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights which currently devotes two articles, 13 and 14 to the right to education.
With the Expo 2020 Dubai offering a unique convening platform for a wide array of partners from over 190 participating countries, government entities, and the private sector, the mega event will help facilitate advocacy for a full ecosystem of connected learning for children and young people and provide an opportunity for the UAE and for Dubai to convene and drive collective action between governments, global education stakeholders and the private sector to ensure the right to connectivity for learning and livelihoods for all.
We are keen to hear from potential partners who are active in the connectivity space on how they could get involved with the Declaration. To find out more, please send an email to: [email protected]