UN General Assembly highlights UNESCO’s leading role in the Education 2030 Agenda

On 19 December 2019, the UN General Assembly adopted the resolution ‘Education for Sustainable Development in the framework of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’.

The General Assembly resolution Education for Sustainable Development in the framework of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, introduced by the Group of 77 and China, calls upon the international community to scale up education for sustainable development in order to achieve the 2030 Agenda. The decision relates to various aspects of education for sustainable development and more broadly the implementation of SDG 4 as it recognizes, among others, the gendered barriers faced by girls in accessing education, and the need to deliver quality education to children in conflict and post-conflict situations.

With the adoption of the resolution, the international community stresses UNESCO’s mandated role in leading and coordinating the Education 2030 Agenda, as well as its position as the lead agency for education for sustainable development. It also highlights the new framework entitled “Education for Sustainable Development: Towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (ESD for 2030)”, which builds upon the experiences of the Global Action Programme in its five Priority Action Areas of policy, education and training, educators, youth and communities. ESD for 2030 will be launched officially in June 2020 in Berlin, Germany.        

For the first time, the resolution explicitly emphasizes the importance of further developing and implementing educational programmes to address climate change challenges, thus reaffirming the relevance of ESD for 2030 today. Furthermore, this year’s resolution notes the significant progress made by the Global Action Programme, particularly through its Key Partner Network that has exposed 26 million learners to education for sustainable development curricula and trained two million educators in this domain.

Through the resolution, the UN General Assembly invites UNESCO to support Member States in their efforts to promote education for sustainable development. It also reiterates its call to Member States to provide inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels, and ensure that all people may have access to lifelong learning opportunities that can help them participate fully in society and contribute to sustainable development.

During the negotiation process, Member States welcomed the findings and recommendations of the UNESCO Director-General’s report on the implementation of education for sustainable development. This report emphasized the importance of global cooperation for SDG 4 and education for sustainable development.

The UN Secretary-General is requested to submit a report on the implementation of the present resolution to the General Assembly at its seventy-sixth session.

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