The sub-Saharan region is the region with the highest prevalence of HIV worldwide. In 1998 the Durban Statement adopted by the MINEDAF VII Conference of African Ministers of Education stressed the urgent need of joint efforts to combat the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS “with all means at our disposal”. The Dakar Framework for Action adopted by the World Education Forum in April 2000 underlined that “programmes to control and reduce the spread of the virus must make maximum use of education's potential to transmit messages on prevention and to change attitudes and behaviours”. During the World AIDS Conference held in Durban, South Africa in April 2000, the great importance of effective HIV prevention work has been underscored as well as the urgent need for specific gender sensitive approaches. UNESCO’s Strategy for HIV/AIDS Preventive Education is based on the principle that “prevention is not only the most economical response – it is the most patent and potent response, i.e. changing behaviour by providing knowledge, fostering attitudes and conferring skills through culturally sensitive and effective communication” and is directed towards five core tasks: advocacy at all levels; customising the message; changing risk behaviour; caring for the infected and affected; and coping with the institutional impact of HIV/AIDS.

Download: Gender and HIV/AIDS; International Workshop on the Development of Empowering Educational HIV/AIDS Prevention Strategies and Gender Sensitive Materials; Nairobi; 2001(PDF 185 KB)

The third in UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) current series of policy briefs, titled Gender equality matters: Empowering women through literacy programmes, offers research-informed analysis and action-oriented recommendations for local and national governments, providers of literacy programmes and educators on how to reduce the gender gap in adult literacy.

This document describes measures taken in different countries to reduce gender disparities in literacy and presents best-practice examples of literacy programmes that respond to the challenges women face in accessing learning opportunities. It is based on experiences shared by delegates from twelve countries at the International Conference on Achieving Literacy for All  in New Delhi in July 2013 and on a research study on women’s literacy and empowerment which was presented for discussion to the participants of the aforementioned conference and recently published by UIL.

One of the main conclusions of this policy brief is that while literacy alone does not empower women to create and participate in change, as part of policies and programmes that promote equality in all aspects of life, it plays a vital role in changing the lives of millions of women who have received little formal education.


UIL Policy Brief 3: Gender equality matters: Empowering women through literacy programmes (PDF 1,3 MB)

This first-ever Global Report on Adult Learning and Education is based on 154 National Reports submitted by UNESCO Member States on the state of adult learning and education, five Regional Synthesis Reports and secondary literature. Its purpose is to provide an overview of the trends in adult learning and education as well as identify key challenges. It is intended to be used as a reference document and an advocacy tool, as well as input to CONFINTEA VI.

The Report is organised into six chapters which address key issues. Chapter 1 examines how adult education is considered in the international educational and development policy agenda. It indicates the need to situate adult education within a lifelong learning perspective and adopt a capability approach. Chapter 2 presents developments in policy and governance while Chapter 3 describes the range of provision of adult education and offers a typology for understanding the variety of provision in the sector. Chapter 4 reviews patterns of participation and access to adult education while Chapter 5 deals with quality in adult education. Chapter 6 appraises the current state of the financing of adult education. A concluding section provides an overview of trends and challenges.


Global report on adult learning and education: executive summary (PDF 0,3 MB)

These guidelines provide cities with strategic approaches for building dynamic and sustainable learning cities. They contain a set of actionable recommendations that can be referred to at every stage of the process of becoming a learning city. The documents are available for download in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

This book constitutes one of a number of activities completed as part of a collaboration between the UNESCO Institute for Education (Hamburg) and the German Foundation for International Development (DSE), whose objective was to gain a better understanding of innovative educational practices in countries in the South or countries with an economically and socially disadvantaged population. A three-year research programme analysed a series of non-formal educational programmes for adults in selected countries in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Canada, using an inclusive approach that viewed the main actors involved in these programmes as researchers of their realities on the ground. The resulting case studies allowed further analysis of themes common to the vast majority of the selected programmes, such as the role of teaching, gender issues, relations between the various groups and institutions involved in the programme, as well as the ways in which a programme responded to the concrete needs of a particular group of people within a given context.

Download: Hacia una pedagogía de género: experiencias y conceptos innovativas (Towards a System of Gender Pedagogy: Experiences and Innovative Concepts) (PDF 16.9 MB)

Grasping the breadth of learning festivals around the world poses a real challenge. This alone is a good sign because it indicates that the scope and wealth of activities carried out globally to celebrate and motivate learners are immense. International Adult Learners Week embraces them all, be they adult learners Weeks or Lifelong Learning Days, Learning Festivals, or Literacy Weeks. Whether they take place at a local, national, or sub regional level, in March, May, September, or November of any given year, together they constitute an international network and movement to mobilize for learning and active participation.

Download: International Adult Learners Week: six years after CONFINTEA V (PDF 2,53 MB)

The 5th International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA V) was convened by the Director-General of UNESCO in pursuance of resolutions 1.1 (para 2.A.g) and 1.4 (para 3) adopted by the General Conference at its twenty-eighth session of the General Conference of UNESCO and in accordance with the work plan of the Approved Programme and Budget for 1996. At the invitation of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Conference was held at the Congress Centrum Hamburg from 14 to 18 July 1997. The Conference was organized with the following partners: FAO; ILO; UNAIDS; UNICEF; UNDP; UNFPA; UNHCR; UNIDO; World Bank; WHO; Council of Europe; European Union; OECD.

Download: International Conference on Adult Education; 5th; Hamburg, Germany; 1997: final report (PDF 6,67 MB)

Also available in Russian, Arabic, and Chinese.

The world has undergone major transformations in the course of the century now coming to a close, which have served to change humankind’s global environment, physically, socially, environmentally, politically and culturally, in spite of a number of negative forces at play. Notwithstanding the accompanying questions and doubts, the scientific research and discoveries that have gone hand in hand with these transformations are growing in significance and are indisputably benefiting humanity as a whole. Unfortunately, however, a large minority of the world’s population remains unable to independently participate in or organize real change. This minority seems cut off from all of these realities. Africa, for example, constitutes one body that must lead the battle for change from within in order to enable all of its populations to enter the third millennium with far greater confidence and success. It has the means because the resources – both material and human – exist, although political and social uncertainties are hindering their development. We shall therefore be referring to this Africa where effective implementation strategies are needed to manage a wealth of productive forces that will take on the developmental challenge by means of education and research, which in turn will enable Africa to take a decisive step towards reconstruction.

Download: L'Education des adultes: quel rôle pour les sociétés civiles en Afrique? (Adult Education: What Role does Civil Society Play in Africa?) (PDF 96.5 KB)

Used strategically, libraries have the potential to play a key role in promoting national literacy efforts, as they are trusted by people in the communities they serve and are in a good position to provide a wide variety of literacy opportunities. Libraries provide literacy resources for children, youth and adults at all proficiency levels, thereby making an enormous contribution to supporting a reading culture and the creation of a literate society. They are also an ideal community space for facilitating intergenerational and family learning.

The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) believes in and advocates for learning both in- and outside of formal education settings. It works with formal, non-formal and informal centres of learning, including libraries. The Institute has now released a policy brief entitled Using Libraries to Support National Literacy Efforts, which examines the role of libraries in supporting lifelong literacy. The policy brief looks at how libraries nurture early literacy skills up to advanced levels of literacy proficiency, and the need for libraries to be involved in policy dialogue connected to literacy. The publication goes further to highlight the fact that libraries at every level, local and national, should be well-resourced to serve their surrounding communities and users in order to create a successful learning environment.

Harnessing the potential power of libraries by integrating their activities with national literacy efforts and strategies at local, regional and national levels will help countries achieve the literacy targets set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


UIL Policy Brief 6 - Using Libraries to Support National Literacy Efforts (PDF 0,1 MB)

The following report is about an international expert meeting which was jointly organized by the Department of Adult and Continuing Education & Extension (DACEE) for the University of Mumbai, India, the UNESCO institute for Education (UIE) and the International Congress of University Adult Education (ICUAE). It took place in Mumbai on April 20-24, 1998, and consisted of two separate but complementary events: a) a one-day international seminar on Global Trends in Adult Learning, and b) a three-day preparatory meeting for the forthcoming World Conference on Higher Education (WCHE), to take place in Paris, France, on October 05-09, 1998. The Mumbai meeting was organized as a follow-up activity of the Fifth International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA V, Hamburg, July 1997).

Download: Lifelong learning and institutions of higher education in the 21st century: report on the preparatory Meeting for the World Conference on Higher Education (PDF 12,2 MB)