The Fifth International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA V), held in 1997, looked ahead to the world’s transition to the new millennium by identifyin adult learning as a key to the twenty-first century. The Hamburg Declaration on Adult Learning adopted there forcefully expresses the vital significance of adult education and learning by identifying its potential “for fostering ecologically sustainable development, for promoting democracy, justice, gender equity, and scientific, social and economic development, and for building a world in which violent conflict is replaced by dialogue and a culture of peace based on justice”. These are goals reflecting the fundamental role of education in instilling respect for human rights and basic freedoms, in supporting progress in the diverse spheres and dimensions of human life and in encouraging care for the natural world in which we live.

Download: Recommitting to adult education and learning: synthesis report of the CONFINTEA V Midterm Review Meeting, September 6-11, 2003, Bangkok, Thailand (PDF 55,4 KB)

The Fifth International Conference on Adult Learning, held in Hamburg, Germany in July 1997, emphasized that “efforts need to be made to ensure greater access to and participation in the means of communication for all cultures and social groups.” This online forum was organized to respond to this need. It was a concrete way to contribute to policy development on accessibility issues related to the use of technologies in adult learning. A collection of practical and tangible recommendations and proposals were developed based on different national and regional contexts, and fleshed out as a result of dialogue among concerned partners.

Download: Report of the International Forum on Greater Accessibility of Adult Learning through New Technologies-but how? (PDF 260 KB)

Mauritania’s “National Programme for Development of the Education Sector” (PNDSE 2011-2020) gives particular attention to basic education. This addresses Mauritania’s challenges, with among the lowest rates in primary school enrolment and adult literacy in the Middle East and North Africa region, as well as significant gender disparities in education, to the disadvantage of girls’ access. Evidence shows that illiteracy and low educational achievement are being passed from one generation to the next. Existing evidence from around the world seems to indicate that community-based family learning strategies can play a vital role in addressing the literacy challenge. Usually, the family literacy approach combines elements of adult education, parents’ education and pre-school or/ and primary education – to enhance the literacy of both adults and children and to support teachers and parents in preventing future drop-out. Community-based provision strengthens the capacity of the local community to support families.

Download: Review of international experience and best practice in family literacy
(PDF 781 KB)

The philosophy of learning throughout life is anything but modern. Ancient societies all over the world have emphasized the need to learn from the cradle to the grave. Today in the 21st century, we find ourselves anew amidst the loud voices proclaiming the importance of lifelong learning. What is clear is that the context of lifelong learning has changed and the utopian and generous vision hitherto characterizing lifelong learning has now become a necessary guiding and organizing principle of education reforms. It is recognized today as an indispensable tool to enable education to face its multiple current and emerging challenges.

Download: Revisiting lifelong learning for the 21st century (PDF 625 KB)

As defined by the International Consortium for Intergenerational Programs, “intergenerational programs” are “social vehicles that create purposeful and ongoing exchange of resources and learning among older and younger generations.” In a nutshell, it is about “intergenerational engagement” – the full range of ways in which young people and older adults interact, support, and provide care for one another. The focus is usually on establishing connections between people who are 21 and under and people who are 60 and over, with the intention of benefiting one or both age groups.

Download: School-based intergenerational programs (PDF 114 KB)

The Second Global Report on Adult Learning and Education is based principally on 141 national progress reports submitted by UNESCO Member States. Its objective is to review the implementation of the recommendations made by governments at the Sixth International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VI) in Belém in December 2009.

The Report provides an opportunity for all stakeholders to assess progress in adult education vis-à-vis the recommendations contained in the outcome document of CONFINTEA VI, the Belém Framework for Action. This second Global Report has as its special theme “Rethinking literacy”. UNESCO hopes that this will contribute to the debate on how to strengthen literacy efforts, and help to position literacy as the foundation for lifelong learning.


Second Global Report on Adult Learning and Education: Rethinking Literacy - Summary and Recommendations (PDF, 0.3 MB)

This conference is being held within the framework of the Millennium Development Goals, the United Nations Literacy Decade, the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, the Arab Plan for the Development of Education in the Arab World and the Islamic Programme for Literacy and Basic Education for All.

Download: Statement on Investing in Adult Education: Building Learning and Knowledge Societies in the Arab States (PDF 138 KB)

Also available in Arabic:  (PDF 375 KB) بيان بشأن الاستثمار في تعليم الكبار: بناء مجتمعات التعلّم والمعرفة في الدول العربية



In Asia and the Pacific region, community learning centres – or CLCs – improve access to lifelong learning and education, and serve as an integral mechanism for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goal 4: ‘Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’.

It is against this backdrop that six Asian countries (Bangladesh, Indonesia, Mongolia, Republic of Korea, Thailand and Viet Nam) participated in exploratory research launched by NILE in late 2015 to analyse the wider benefits of CLCs so as to raise socio-political awareness of their significance. The outcome of the research done in 2015/16 resulted in this synthesis report, which provides an overview of CLCs within the contexts of policy, practice and achievements. More importantly, it identifies the factors that make a CLC approach to lifelong learning relevant and significant.

By presenting sound evidence on the advantages brought to both individuals and communities by CLCs, the report hopes to garner support for their future development from national and local governments.

The chapters of this report deal with:

  1. The place and importance of CLCs in international lifelong learning policy discourse
  2. The six countries in historical, social, economic and cultural terms
  3. Policies and frameworks related to CLCs
  4. The current operational status of CLCs
    1. Governance, management and administration
    2. Operational and financial resources
    3. Human resources
  5. Monitoring and evaluating: the achievements and benefits of CLCs
    1. Monitoring and evaluation
    2. Achievements and benefits
  6. Open discussion
  7. Some implications and proposals

Download: Synthesis Report on the State of Community Learning Centres in Six Asian Countries (PDF 836 KB)

Please contact uil-lbs@unesco.org for more information.

The 3 × 3 × 3 × 3 Youth Statement on Learning Cities outlines the ways in which young people should be involved in building learning cities. The Statement comprises three calls for action directed at UNESCO, three expressions of encouragement directed at local and national governments, and three commitments from youth to contribute to the building of learning cities.

Download: The 3 × 3 × 3 × 3 Youth Statement on Learning Cities

The Unesco Institute for Education (UIE) is committed to the promotion of research and international intellectual cooperation. Its focus is on lifelong learning and the democratization of education, as guiding principles for the reform and renewal of education for all children and adults. Research activities concentrate mainly on literacy, which is the absolute priority of UNESCO, and adult education. They take the form of research, dissemination and training concerning the quality and relevance of the content of education, and the development of learning strategies  with a view to the democratization of lifelong education.

Download: The 40th anniversary of the UNESCO Institute for Education (PDF 3,27 MB)