The E-9 Initiative came into being at the EFA Summit of the nine highly populated developing countries (Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria and Pakistan) in New Delhi, India in 1993. Representing more than half of the world’s population, over two-thirds of the world’s illiterate adults and over half of the world’s out-of-school children, these nine countries found themselves at the time as “crucial to the achievement of the global goal of education for all’ (Delhi Declaration and Framework for Action). The initiative was thus launched to enhance cooperation between and among these countries in view of strengthening their efforts “to meet the learning needs of all children, youth and adults” as agreed upon at the World Conference on Education for All (Jomtien, Thailand, 1990).
Since then, the E-9 Initiative has evolved with the same membership to become a platform for networking, experience exchange and South-South cooperation of the nine countries. Until 2015, the group adopted the pursuit of EFA goals and used it to guide their cooperation, in particular in expanding options and clarifying the consequences of different courses of action from the comparative analyses of education challenges, policies and practices in their countries. In fact, the E-9 network had become an integral part of global mechanisms for coordinating the EFA movement and South-South cooperation in education. Its theme-based ministerial review meetings had become a highly visible political mechanism for advancing the EFA agenda, enabling strong expression of E-9 countries’ commitment and political will and creating a stimulus for action on EFA not only within the E-9 countries themselves, but also for the movement as a whole. With the establishment of the chairmanship of the E-9 network since 2004, the network’s coordination has been driven by the chair, who is elected on a rotating basis and responsible for follow-up, coordination, and ensuring continuity of collective commitments between the biannual E-9 Ministerial Review Meetings. Bangladesh, for the first time, will take up the chairmanship of the initiative as of February 2017 when it hosts the E-9 Meeting in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
The new global education aspirations, as set forth in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, present a unique opportunity to revitalize the E-9 network and foster new modalities of partnership including triangular North-South-South cooperation. The group’s Ministers of Education will meet in Dhaka (5-7 February 2017) to review and align their cooperation in light of the new global education commitments and coordination mechanisms for SDG4-Education 2030.