Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Geneva, Switzerland
Address: Chemin des Fins 2, Case Postale 102, 1211 Geneva 19 - Telephone: 022 799 9100 - Fax: 022 799 9178

UN Human Rights Council – 22nd Session
High Level Panel on human rights mainstreaming
1 March 2013

Australia welcomes the opportunity to participate in this discussion on human rights mainstreaming, and the panel’s focus on human rights and the post 2015 development agenda, in particular the right to education.

Achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is vital to enhancing the promotion and protection of human rights for all.

Australia's approach to the MDGs recognises that the goals are intrinsically interrelated and efforts to achieve one goal can support the achievement of others. In this way, we recognise that education is essential to achieving the MDGs.

Education enables development and is crucial to helping people overcome poverty. Education also contributes to equity, health, governance, sustainable development and empowering women.

In addition to 61 million children globally who are missing out on school, it is estimated that approximately 200 million children cannot read or write when they leave primary school, underscoring the need to focus on the quality of teaching and learning.

Australian assistance to developing countries has helped to ensure progress on all the MDGs, including the goal to achieve universal primary education. We are committed to finding solutions so that children everywhere can attend school for a longer and better education.

Indeed, education is the flagship sector of the Australian aid program. With the support of our aid budget for education, we plan to help 4 million more children attend school and improve the quality of education for a further 20 million children.

As 2015 draws closer it will be important to maintain momentum and to ensure that the post-2015 development agenda addresses the many challenges that remain. On current estimates, about one billion people will still be living on less than $1.25 a day in 2015. Poverty reduction must therefore be central to the post-2015 development framework. The new framework must provide continuity, with current goals and targets carried through where they have not been fully achieved, and more ambitious targets set for those already achieved. Post-2015 development goals should also maintain what is good about the current MDGs, in particular they need to be compelling, simple and easy to understand.

Australia acknowledges the challenge ahead for us all and we hope that today’s discussion will lead to concrete action. We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with others to maximise the impact of our development efforts.