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UNESCO: outcomes of the 3rd meeting SDG-Education Steering Committee

The SDG-Education 2030 Steering Committee (SC) – the global coordination mechanism established in 2016 for the Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4), i.e. the education goal – convened for its third meeting at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York, on 29-30 June 2017. The inclusive high-level stakeholder event, held in conjunction with the High-Level Action Event on Education convened by the President of the General Assembly, provided a forum for consultation and a coordination mechanism towards harmonising global efforts in the field of education.  The SC is mandated to provide strategic guidance to member states and the education community, to generate a set of recommendations, to support advocacy actions and to monitor progress towards , through the UNESCO Institute for Statistics and the Global Educational Monitoring (GEM) Report. Previous SDG-Education 2030 SC meetings were held in May and December 2016 in Paris.


Source UNESCO 

The two day deliberations of the SC focused on six key areas that will mark the way forward:

1.       National and regional perspectives on implementation of SDG 4 – Education 2030

Critical challenges and opportunities to reaching the SDG 4 in a selection of national and reginal contexts were identified. These included: the importance of effective partnerships and coordination structures, regional and national consultations resulting in roadmaps for effective policy making, financing gaps as a primary challenge to implementing the SDG4, maintaining a broad ambition of the SDG 4-Education on aspects as equity, quality and life-long learning, the role of education staff in quality learning, as well as education for migrants/refugees

2.       Regional support for SDG 4 – Education 2030 implementation

The SC reaffirmed the importance of regional organisations in the effective implementation and monitoring of the SDG 4 by: strengthening political commitment towards education targets, tracking implementation at country level, peer learning opportunities, and in ensuring alignments of regional agendas with global frameworks. 

3.       Policy lessons and implementation strategies

The SC endorsed a set of recommendations, based on a survey identifying successes and barriers to reaching SDG 4 targets, which included: strengthening national ownership of targets through regional/national consultations lead by UNESCO, a key role for member states in ensuring sector-wide coordination, and the development of practical guides by UNESCO to support member states, as well as an enhanced SC role in capacity building and use of data to promote evidence based policy making.

4.       Financing of education

More and better financing was set the stage for a way forward on key initiatives. The SC affirmed the need for increased domestic financing, improving financing data, enhancing Official Development Assistance (ODA), and support for the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) replenishment and increased finances for the Education Cannot Wait Fund. Still in its design phase, the establishment of an International Financing Facility for Education (IFFED) was discussed.

5.       Review, monitoring and reporting

The SC provided updates on global frameworks to monitor the SDG 4 and followed-up on the 2016 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report  and the UN reporting process through the High-level Political Forum (HLPF). The development and prioritization of indicators including the question of a global lead indicator was examined, and the SC endorsed 29 thematic indicators (11 of which are global) for reporting in 2017. An increased engagement in ensuring funding and ownership by governments concerning monitoring and data collection was encouraged.

6.       Advocacy and communication

To enhance the SC’s recognition, attention was payed to further highlighting its role and achievements, including a proposal for a dedicated website as a communication and advocacy tool.  Better communication on the SC’s role and impact, and strengthened visibility in at the UN level and events, posed a key action. The SC’s wish to expand its engagement within the UN System and High-level Political Forum will be brought forward to the UN General Assembly.

Going forward several important events are scheduled including the the fourth SC meeting anticipated to be held in February 2018,  the UNESCO Education High-level Event on “SDG4 – Education 2030, two years on” on 1 November 2017, and the Global Education 2030 Meeting 2018 (GEM 2018). 

UNESCO – Full report of the 3rd SDG - Education 2030 Steering Committee meeting