Aid, advocacy and guidance on the table at key Education 2030 meeting

04 July 2017
At the third SDG-Education 2030 Steering Committee meeting held at UN Headquarters, New York, from 29-30 June 2017, Mr Qian Tang, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education and co-chair of the committee, reminded participants of the urgent need for more aid. 
“As our latest Global Education Monitoring Report policy paper has shown, aid to education has dropped for the sixth year in a row from 10 per cent in 2009 to only 6.9 per cent in 2015. This is shocking news.  While countries will continue to bear the financial responsibility for education, they will not be able to reach the commitment made without external support,” he said.  
The Steering Committee allows governments, specialized UN agencies, international organizations, regional organizations, teacher organizations, private sector, foundations, youth and civil society networks a space to come together, coordinate efforts and provide guidance for action on Education.
HE Wu Hongbo, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs emphasized the importance of education in the wider agenda. ‘Sustainable Development Goals are a whole; education is both a goal in itself and a means for achieving all the other SDGs. Education both promotes empowerment and yields important development benefit.’ 
Four areas of action
The meeting, informed by four working groups, studied recommendations on: financing of education; policy lessons and implementation strategies; review, monitoring and reporting; and advocacy activities. 
Chaired by Jordan Naidoo, Director, Division for Education 2030 at UNESCO, the financing panel spanned from domestic financing (increasing public revenue and allocation to education) to increasing funding to the Global partnership for Education replenishment and the Education Cannot Wait Fund. Also studied were data on financing, increased overseas development aid and an increased share of humanitarian aid to education as well as, the Education Commission and World Bank’s initiative ‘International Finance Facility for Education’.  
The policy panel, chaired by Michael Ward, Senior Policy Analyst, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OCED), underlined the need for ownership of the Framework for Action and the SDG4 agenda by national ministries of education and departments that mobilize other ministerial departments.  
Strategy recommendations stressed the need for development agencies and partners to provide practical materials such as guidelines to support technical dialogue and integrating SDG4 into education policy and plans effectively. Explaining the necessity to strengthen the capacity of governments, the wider educational community (education and training institutions, teachers, students, parents), civil society, as well as other key actors at country level including in the areas of statistical indicators, data collection, availability and reporting.
The Review, monitoring and reporting panel examined the criteria and issues for the sequencing of indicators.  It noted that the Steering Committee must work on the whole agenda but objectives must be in a sequence of priorities, not everything can be done at the same time.
Chaired by Maria Lourdes Almazan Khan, Secretary-General of the Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education (ASPBAE) the advocacy panel recommended strengthened communication processes to provide strategic guidance to Members States and partners at country level.  Highlighting the role of the Committee in supporting Ministries of Education to also communicate their needs to other ministries such as, Ministries of Finance and Health. 
The Steering Committee takes forward recommendations for the implementation of SDG4-Education 2030 targets and commitments, including through engagement with key global and regional events and by linking with the UN processes such as, the High Level Political Forum, President of the General Assembly and regional fora.
The next high-Level event on SDG4-Education 2030 will take place during UNESCO’s General Conference on 1 November, 2017, UNESCO Headquarters, Paris.