2009 World Conference on Higher Education: The New Dynamics of Higher Education and Research For Societal Change and Development


We, the participants of the 2009 World Conference on Higher Education, held from 5
to 8 July 2009 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, recognising the abiding relevance
of the outcomes and Declaration of the 1998 World Conference on Higher Education
and taking into account the outcomes and recommendations of the six regional
conferences (Cartagena de Indias, Macau, Dakar, New Delhi, Bucharest and Cairo)
as well as the debates and outcomes of this world conference, ‘The New Dynamics
of Higher Education and Research for Societal Change and Development’, adopt the
present communiqué.

As a public good and a strategic imperative for all levels of education and as the
basis for research, innovation and creativity, higher education must be a matter of
responsibility and economic support of all governments. As emphasised in the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ‘higher education shall be equally accessible
to all on the basis of merit’ (Article 26, paragraph 1).

The current economic downturn may widen the gap in access and quality between
developed and developing countries as well as within countries, presenting additional
challenges to countries where access is already restricted.

At no time in history has it been more important to invest in higher education as a
major force in building an inclusive and diverse knowledge society and to advance
research, innovation and creativity.

The past decade provides evidence that higher education and research contribute to
the eradication of poverty, to sustainable development and to progress towards
reaching the internationally agreed upon development goals, which include the
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Education for All (EFA). The global
education agenda should reflect these realities.