“Academic Mobility Convention”: Green light from UNESCO’s Member States for possible adoption in 2019

11 November 2017

In November 2017, the 39th Session of the General Conference of UNESCO approved the continuation of the preparation of UNESCO’s Academic Mobility Convention (Global Convention on the Recognition of Higher Education Qualifications) and its possible adoption at the next session, in November 2019. This future Convention aims to provide a global framework of universal principles and rules for the recognition of higher education titles, diplomas and certificates.

At this stage, three regional conventions have been updated (European Convention, Asia and Pacific’s Convention and African Convention) and the other two (Latin America and Caribbean’s Convention and Arab States’ Convention) under revision are foreseen to be adopted in 2019. Vis-à-vis the Regional Conventions on recognition, the future Convention will have a complementary role covering also the inter-regional academic mobility. It will provide principles and provisions to be applied to all regions while being sufficiently flexible to consider the diversity of higher education systems around the world.

Twenty-seven UNESCO’s Member States and two observers took the floor during the session to express their encouragement to this important project. UNESCO will need to rely on Member States’ support to undertake an inclusive process with satisfactory participation of states from all regions. In this regard, Norway, who has contributed significantly to the preparation of the future Convention in the past three years, already expressed its commitment to continue contributing to the next steps.

With a global scope, it is crucial that all countries and relevant stakeholders at national, regional and global levels are involved in the preparation process. The consultations and negotiations foreseen in the next two years with all Member States and stakeholders aim to lead to the possible adoption of the draft text by UNESCO Member States in November 2019.

The future Convention will be a major step forward for the rights of students to have their higher education qualifications assessed in a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory manner by national competent authorities. It will also strengthen cooperation in higher education and enhance trust in higher education systems in view of ensuring quality in education, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals