18.11.2016 - UNESCOPRESS

At UNESCO, President of the UN General Assembly calls for a “push in SDG awareness”

©UNESCO/Christelle ALIX - UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and Mr. Peter Thomson, President of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly, at UNESCO HQ in Paris on 18 November 2016

Mr. Peter Thomson, President of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly, met with UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and key officials to engage on ways to strengthen public awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on 18 November.

In a follow-up to his campaign to get “the SDGs taught in schools”, launched within the framework of his strategic plan, “A Universal Push to Transform our World”, President Thomson emphasized the necessity of strengthening public awareness about the SDGs and their true transformative power.

“UNESCO has a crucial role to play in mobilizing the global education system of the world to heighten public awareness of the SDGs”, said the President, including through collaboration with education ministries around the world and in the development of relevant school curricula. 

“We need to pursue a systemic and sustainable approach,” said the Director-General, “to reach beyond single projects and involving institutions and individuals alike”.

The Director-General noted that it is also through entry points such as Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and Education for Global Citizenship that we can push the global effort to ensure that each and every person is aware of the rights and responsibilities enshrined in the 2030 Agenda.

Looking to the future, the Director-General and the President underscored the key importance of the recently concluded landmark UN agreements which provide visionary roadmaps for the way ahead - the Paris Agreement, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the New Urban Agenda, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which constitutes an overarching integrative framework for collective action. It will be key for the UN system, governments and civil society around the world to build on their momentum and to deliver on the important commitments made across all pillars and sectors of the UN system’s work. 

The President also met with key officials of the UNESCO intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), custodian agency of two targets of SDG 14 which addresses oceans and marine resources sustainability. He praised the excellent collaboration with UNESCO and the IOC and the IOC’s leadership role in the preparation of the upcoming United Nations Conference on SDG 14 (New York, 5-9 June 2017). He also expressed strong interest in UNESCO’s important work on water, and on the mobilization of local and indigenous knowledge.

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