Too often we forget how lucky we are to go to school (01/23/2015)
Screening of the documentary film "On the Way to School" at the UN - Speech by François Delattre, French Ambassador to the UN - 23 January 2015
Mesdames et Messieurs les Ambassadeurs,
Monsieur le Secrétaire général adjoint,
Mesdames et Messieurs,
C’est un immense plaisir pour mon équipe et pour moi de vous accueillir aujourd’hui pour cet événement important, autour de la projection d’un film merveilleux, « Sur le chemin de l’école », et du thème crucial de l’éducation et de l’accès à l’éducation.
It is indeed an immense pleasure for me to introduce the screening of the award-winning French documentary film “On the Way to School”, that we are co-sponsoring with UNESCO and the French UN Staff Society (AFFIN) in partnership with DPI and the film distribution - and I’d like to acknowledge Ms Moufida Goucha for UNESCO, Sibylle Eschapasse for AFFIN, Mr. Maher Nasser for DPI and Mr. Pascal Plisson.
The film does not need an advocate. It speaks a thousand words. But if I may, I would like to make a few points to stress how important it is to show this film today, in 2015, within the UN, and to a large and diverse audience as you are, including representatives of Member States, NGOs, journalists, UN staff members and citizens of the world.
2015 marks a turning point. The Millennium Development Goals are coming to an end, and so is the Dakar Framework for Action which established 6 educational goals to be achieved by 2015. Meanwhile, the entire international community is working, together, to define a new development agenda to be adopted by the end of this year. It is therefore time for us to look back, assess our action over the past 15 years, and draw lessons for the future.
“On the Way to School” sheds light on some of the shortcomings of the Millennium Development Goals, most notably their inability to fully grasp intra-country gaps in the achievement of the MDGs, in particular MDG2 on universal primary education, and MDG3 on elimination of gender disparity in primary and secondary education.
Argentina, India, Kenya and Morocco, where the film was shot, have come a long way in 15 years. Tremendous efforts were deployed to achieve the MDGs, with some important results.
And yet, this film demonstrates that access to education comes at a price, even when tuition is formally free, in many of our countries. Rural populations, children with disabilities and girls face even greater challenges in this regard. The post-2015 development agenda, by developing a human-rights-based approach and focusing on gender equality and quality of education will undoubtedly contribute to filling the MDG gaps. The universal nature of the post-2015 development agenda will also be an opportunity for all Member States of the UN to share their experience and build on successes.
I could not give the floor to Ms. Moufida Goucha, head of the UNESCO’s Office in New York City, without saying a few words about sustainable development. Education to sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles is on the post-2015 development agenda. As we are watching the Atlas eternal snow in Morocco, let us not forget how crucial it is for all of us to reach, by the end of this year, a universal and legally-binding agreement on Climate during the Paris Climate Conference this coming December.
I would also like to seize this opportunity to congratulate the film director, Mr. Pascal Plisson, for being with us today and for showing us a film that goes beyond the natural borders of filmmaking. By shooting this film in locally-spoken languages, namely Berber, Massai, Tamil and Spanish, Mr. Plisson gave a voice to some of the unspoken peoples of the world. France is a strong supporter of cultural and language diversity, including at the United Nations. As we are marking this year the 20th anniversary of the resolution of the UN General Assembly on multilingualism, this film also reminds us that ownership of the post-2015 development agenda will only be achieved by taking into account the many languages spoken worldwide.
Excellencies, Mesdames et Messieurs, c’est sur cette note positive, et avant d’assister à la projection, que je vous prie de vous joindre à moi pour accueillir sans plus attendre Mme Moufida Goucha, Directrice du Bureau de l’UNESCO de New York.