SDG-Education 2030 Steering Committee develops a roadmap and forms 4 working groups
The Steering Committee on Education for Sustainable Development Goals 2030 developed a roadmap of activities for 2017-2019 during its second meeting held from 8th to 9th November 2016 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France. The Committee also formed four working groups (communication and advocacy; review, monitoring and reporting; policies and strategies; and financing) to facilitate the implementation of its roadmap. The Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) represents regional organizations in Group V (a) – Africa of the Steering Committee, which also comprises the Member States of Benin, Kenya and Zambia.
Opening the meeting, the Senior Adviser to the President of the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), H.E. Ms. Dessima Williams representing the UNGA President, H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson, reiterated the need to ensure that all girls and boys, especially those in conflict areas and natural disaster zones, have the opportunity to complete regular primary and secondary education in education facilities that are child-learning friendly, and disability and gender sensitive. His Excellency Ambassador Michael Worbs, Chairperson of the UNESCO Executive Board affirmed the position that the primary responsibility for implementing the global agenda lies with the Member States. He underscored the key role of partners and other stakeholders in guiding and supporting the Member States in the implementation process. In a speech read on her behalf by the Assistant Director-General for Education, Mr. Qian Tang, the UNESCO Director General, Ms. Irina Bokova observed that to leave no one behind, there is need for a vast expansion of quality education at all levels – an education that imparts responsibility, citizenship and shared values. Through real partnership, the Steering Committee has a vital responsibility in promoting a forward-looking vision on how to put the SDG and education agenda into action. The Director General noted that implementing the SDG agenda calls for political leadership in strengthening the capacity of governments to plan and monitor progress, and sustained high profile advocacy and increased investment in education.
The meeting provided feedback on the Global Education Monitoring (GEM 2016) Report and comments on the theme for the 2017 report: Accountability. Members also endorsed the 29 thematic indicators presented by UNESCO Institute for Statistics (representing the Technical Cooperation Group – TCG), and agreed to support the implementation of the indicator framework at national, regional and global levels. The International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity also presented the “Learning Generation Report”. The meeting further deliberated on the proposal to establish SDG4-Education 2030 Champion countries, agreeing to replace the term “Champion” with another word such as Patron or Lead and to focus more on peer learning.
The information-sharing sessions around SDG-Education 2030 activity implementation by members of the Steering Committee saw two presentations made by Group V (a) – Africa: one by Zambia, representing Member States, and the second one by ADEA, representing regional organizations in this group. The Member State presentation highlighted the limited capacity in education policy and planning to effectively align national strategies and sector plans to SDG-4, and the inadquate capacity to effectively handle EMIS to conform to the demands of SDG-4 as some of the challenges. However, the group cited existing opportunities such as the regional initiatives that highlight the goodwill of the African leaders – e.g. Africa’s Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want, and the Continental Education Strategy for Africa 2016 – 2025 (CESA 16-25) as well as the large youth population.
ADEA’s presentation focused on its work in supporting Africa’s Agenda 2063 and CESA 16-25 including its contribution to the African Union (AU) Report of Annual Continental Activities (RACA). The presentation also highlighted the decision by AU to use existing structures in implementing CESA 16-25 and the recognition of the Association’s Inter-Country Quality Node (ICQN) network as a model for monitoring the implementation of the African agenda and continental strategy, citing the launch of CESA thematic clusters on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and ICT in Education as examples. The ADEA representative concluded by sharing information about the Association’s 2017 Triennale in terms of its focus, theme and sub-themes, venue, dates and the preparation process.
Key observations by the members included the need for the Committee to work with, and support, regional organizations. Strong regional cooperation is necessary in establishing common frameworks as well as enhancing peer learning (e.g. the ICQN model). Also, deliberate efforts should be made to ensure alignment between the endorsed global indicators framework and the CESA 16-25 Monitoring and Evaluation Framework under development by the Pan-African Institute of Education for Development (IPED), the AU Education Observatory. Finally, members agreed to develop an advocacy and communication strategy that includes an online portal with information for benchmarking successful practices.
UNESCO established the Steering Committee on Education for Sustainable Development Goals 2030 (SDG-Education 2030 Steering Committee) in 2016 primarily to support Member States and partners by providing strategic guidance, reviewing progress and making recommendations to the education community on key priorities and catalytic actions to take to achieve the new global agenda, particularly SDG-4 and the education-related targets in other goals. In doing so, it is hoped that the unfinished Education for All agenda will continue to be addressed. The Committee comprises six groups of 34 members, as specified in the 2030 SDG Framework for Action, and held its inaugural meeting in May 2016. The next Steering Committee meeting will be held in July 2017 before the High Level Policy Forum (HLPF) in New York.
Mr. Shem Bodo, ADEA Senior Programs Officer, T. +225 2026 4262, E. firstname.lastname@example.org