28.09.2017 - New York Office

Calling for strengthened support for education as a key driver for sustainable development


UNESCO joins partners in fostering the message of the importance of education for the achievement of the global goals at the Sustainable Education Meeting 2017 21-22nd September, 2017, NYC, USA

At the margins of the High level segment of the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, the Millennium@EDU Sustainable Education convened the Sustainable Education Meeting on ‘Reinforcing Partnerships for Sustainable Education and Technology for effective implementation of Sustainable Development Goals’. UNESCO participated in the event together with organizations across the public and private sector such as Intel, Microsoft, UNDP, Global Partnership for Education, Ministries of Education and Training and Columbia University. It was a multi-stakeholder initiative to leverage the effective use of technology to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.  

In accordance to the adoption of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the United Nations General Assembly on September 25, 2015, the Millennium@EDU Sustainable Education partners signed a supportive action to express their agreement to contribute to the achievement of SDGs. Following five successive years of meetings organized to reinforce this partnership, the sixth Sustainable Education meeting was held in New York to reinforce and enlarge the cooperation between stakeholders, in line with SDG17 - revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development. The meeting focused on three interlinked drivers of sustainable development: education, monitoring and technology. Additionally, it focused on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), an approach advocated by UNESCO since 1992, as well as on the use of technology to improve access and quality of education and on how personal and social awareness of the scientific method and technological tools can contribute to better management of data, monitoring and effective achievement of SDGs.  

Ms. Lily Gray, Liaison Officer from UNESCO New York office emphasized that education is both a stand-alone goal, SDG4, which aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”, and a crosscutting means for attaining all other sustainable development goals. She further elaborated on ESD approach, advocated by UNESCO, leading to the UN Decade for ESD from 2005 to 2014 and later followed by the Global Action Programme (GAP) on ESD. Accordingly, she stressed that education for sustainable development requires an action-oriented, transformative pedagogy, which supports self-directed learning, participation and collaboration, problem-orientation and linking of formal and informal learning. Furthermore, Ms. Gray highlighted that embarking on the path of sustainable development will require a profound transformation of the way we think and act and technological innovation is essential aid in making that transformation.  Finally, Ms. Gray presented UNESCO’s recent publication Education for Sustainable Development Goals Learning Objectives, which aims to act as a guide for education professionals on the use of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) approach in learning for SDGs, and consequently to contribute to achieving the SDGs.  

Mr. Jonas Haertle, Head, Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) celebrated the positive role of public private partnerships in the field of sustainable education and technology – a sentiment shared by professionals of leading businesses present at the event. Companies like Intel and Microsoft showcased a range of innovations designed specifically for the attainment of goals of sustainable education and development in line with the implementation of the 2030 agenda. The latest technological innovations were supplemented by research conducted at world class institutions, presented by Dr. Meier of Center for Technology and School Change, Teachers College, Columbia University, on the role and ability of teachers to adopt and adapt these new mechanisms to their teaching methods in challenging and precarious environments of developing countries.  

Ms. Paloma Duran, Director of SDG Fund, introduced the activities of the fund in support of the use of ICTs for the provision of quality education for all. She stressed the partnership driven approach where SDG Fund provides the funding incentive for UN entities, government branches and private partners to work together for the achievement of the global goals. SDG Fund, being a multi-donor and multi-agency development cooperation mechanism, lays emphasis on public-private partnerships to build its knowledge base and expand its activities towards sustainable development.

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