UNESCO’s action plan to drive the Education 2030 agenda in 2016

UNESCO is to establish a dedicated Steering Committee to ensure the global coordination of the Sustainable Development Goal no. 4, which focuses on providing quality education by 2030.

The Steering Committee which meets for the first time in May 2016, is part of this year’s rolling programme to ensure the achievement of the new global vision for education set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The group will be composed of Member States in the majority (three per regional group and one E-9 representative, regional organizations, the eight SDG4-Education 2030 convening agencies (UNESCO, UNICEF, the World Bank, UNDP, UNHCR, UNFPA, UN Women and ILO), GPE, OECD, NGOs and Education International. In addition, representatives from the private sector, foundations, youth and student organizations may be invited as observers.

Following the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, which includes Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 on education, the global education community adopted a Framework for Action in November 2015, which aims to provide guidance for the implementation of the education goal. 

“The Education goal is one of the two sustainable development goals which already has an action plan – Education 2030. We therefore have a strong momentum to move ahead quickly,” says Jordan Naidoo, UNESCO’s Director of Education 2030 Support and Coordination.
Its historic adoption by 184 Member States and over 70 ministers at UNESCO marks the beginning of a new era for education. The Education 2030 agenda aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” by 2030.

Highlights of new action plan

In addition to the steering committee, UNESCO’s action plan, to be carried out in close cooperation with key stakeholders and partners, includes:

  • Strategic support and guidance to countries as they review education sector and national development plans to ensure alignment with SDG4-Education 2030;
  • Support for national coordination mechanism(s) while ensuring they are linked to cross-sectoral SDG-related mechanisms being set up in many countries;     
  • Support for monitoring and evaluation and contextualization of indicators (led by UNESCO’s Institute of Statistics);
  • Capacity development at national level (including data collection, analysis, monitoring and reporting; education information management systems; knowledge on policies and planning adapted to local conditions); and
  • Advocacy and communication.

Regional meeting to identify priorities

The work to achieve SDG4-Education 2030 has already begun at country level and UNESCO, together with the SDG4-Education 2030 co-convening agencies and regional partners, has started a cycle of regional meetings to identify priority areas and review coordination and monitoring mechanisms.

Regional meetings have been held in:

  • West and Central Africa (Dakar, 23-25 November 2015);
  • Asia-Pacific (Bangkok, 25-27 November 2015); and
  • Arab States (Cairo, 14-15 December 2015).

Further meetings are planned for the Arab States (follow-up planning), Europe and North America, Latin America and the Caribbean and Eastern and Southern Africa.

New indicators to improve monitoring

In parallel, global indicators are being finalized by the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDG) and are expected to be agreed upon by the UN Statistical Commission in March 2016 and adopted by the UN Economic and Social Council in June 2016 and by the UN General Assembly in September 2016.

Added to this, the Technical Advisory Group on Education Indicators (TAG) has developed thematic indicators for education which are annexed in the Education 2030 Framework for Action. The thematic indicators will be tracked according to their relevance based on country context, capacity and data availability and thus serve as a menu from which countries can choose.

Global monitoring of progress

In relation to monitoring and reporting, the EFA Global Monitoring Report has been officially relaunched as the Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM Report). The GEM Report changed its name and logo to reflect its new mandate outlined in the SDG4 – Education 2030 Framework for Action to monitor progress towards international education targets until 2030.

This annual report published by UNESCO remains independent, authoritative, and evidence-based and will continue to serve as an invaluable global resource and advocacy tool, promoting informed dialogue and increasing public awareness about progress and challenges in education.

The first GEM Report will be launched in September 2016 and will design a framework for the monitoring of global education targets from now until 2030.