10 years to the attainment of SDG4 targets … Where are we?

Only 10 years are left to attain Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) targets.  Where are we?  Are we set to achieve the targets? How are countries faring?  Indications are that with the current rate of progress, African countries are unlikely to attain the SDG4 targets. These questions are being interrogated in a side event at the 6th Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development Goals (ARFSD) being held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe on 24th February 2020. 

UNESCO Regional Offices in Africa are convening the meeting in partnership with other UN agencies, African governments, civil society and partners who are taking part in the 6th ARFSD. 

The side meeting, geared to ‘Leaving No One Behind’ focuses on Out-of-School Children (OOSC) from early childhood care and education (ECCE)/early childhood development (ECD) to secondary school levels.  OOSC need both attention and action in the following categories: gender; rural populations; and refugees/IDPs (internally displaced persons). This will allow partners to see themselves in the event and sustain their interest in supporting the implementation, monitoring, evaluation and reporting on SDG4 and the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA).

UNESCO will address monitoring, evaluation and reporting with UIS/IIEP-Pole de Dakar focusing on data, key progress accelerators and indicators to monitor. UNICEF will focus on girls and UNHCR will address refugees and IDPs related aspects while the African Union Commission (AUC) will focus on the status of implementation.

Although education is largely acknowledged as a key enabler for almost all the other 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it appears that five years after the adoption of SDGs in 2015, Africa continues to face the greatest challenges regarding the pace of progress towards realizing the SDG4 and the CESA targets.  For UNESCO, as the Lead Agency for SDG4, Africa being one of the two global priorities aside Gender, this situation calls for a much closer and more regular monitoring and reporting on Africa’s progress in Education.