Excellencies, Distinguished Ministers
Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
It is a pleasure and privilege to warmly welcome you all to this important Roundtable Breakfast to exchange on “the gender dimension of education in post-conflict African countries and in LDCs”.
I am so glad that you made the decision to come to this uniquely important meeting. Each of you present was invited with care, as you have a wealth of insights and experience to contribute. 
 
Let me, at this junction, acknowledge the presence of {the names of all high-level officials who will attend the event}.
 
Excellencies, Distinguished Ministers
Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
You will agree with me that successful transitions from civil conflicts to peace and the move towards stability in former war-torn countries have been one of the most encouraging developments in Africa and in LDCs over the last decade. These achievements need to be nurtured and expanded if African countries and LDCs emerging from conflict are to enter a path of lasting peace, which ultimately will help them secure inclusive and equitable economic growth and sustainable development.
 
A great deal of evidence suggests that the rehabilitation of physical and institutional foundations and transformation from a war economy to a developing economy feature economic, social and political dimensions. Admittedly, sustained improvements of educational outcomes are key, in this regard, and constitute a litmus test of our common endeavours to sustain peace and development in post-conflict African countries and LDCs.
 
Improved educational outcomes could not be achieved unless the gender dimension of education receives well-deserved attention in the formulation, implementation, follow-up and monitoring of education policies and strategies. Of the twenty countries that have a ratio of primary enrolment among boys to primary enrolment among girls of less than 0.90 in 2007, eighteen are African countries and sixteen LDCs. This is to say that the overwhelming majority of countries that are yet to meet the goal of gender parity in primary education set for 2005 are in Africa and among LDCs. The subject of this Roundtable Breakfast could not therefore be more timely and more relevant.
 
Before I conclude, allow me to say a few words of the format of the Roundtable. We will start with Statements by Distinguished Ministers, which will be followed by interactive discussions. The Event will conclude with a brief summary on the issues that were discussed and key policy recommendations.
 
Excellencies, Distinguished Ministers
Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
One positive aspect of this Roundtable Breakfast is that it provides all of us with the opportunity to articulate our considered perspectives on the questions at hand. Indeed, it is what we all contribute that will inform the final outcome of this Roundtable, which will feed into the broader Outcome of the ECOSOC High-Level Segment. I therefore urge you all to participate fully and with all the passion that sparks your involvement in African and LDC development.
 
With these few reflections and remarks, which we are certain your workshop will carry further, let me wish you Excellencies, Distinguished Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen, productive deliberations.
 
I thank you for your kind attention.