Ms. Jensen also reiterated UNESCO’s commitment to harnessing partnerships for education, especially in the COVID-19 context where nearly half the world’s students are impacted by partial school closures in 50 countries, and 55 million students are still affected by full school closures in 14 countries. Against this troubling backdrop for the achievement of SDG4, UNESCO is working to reform and strengthen the Global Education Cooperation Mechanism
(GCM). As part of the reformed GCM, a remodeled SDG4-Education 2030 High-Level Steering Committee, consisting of a political “Leadership Group” and a corresponding ‘Sherpa Group’ of senior technical representatives, will serve as the global education apex body by providing strategic guidance, review progress and make recommendations on priorities/actions; monitor and advocate for adequate financing; and encourage harmonization and coordination of partner activities.
While discussing advancements towards sustainable development, member states recognized that the unprecedented disruption in education had led to significant learning losses and increased drop-out rates, especially among the most vulnerable groups. They further highlighted the importance of “harnessing the potential of new, digital and ‘green’ technologies to ensure that the access, development and use of technologies is safe, inclusive and based on critical thinking and sustainability principles, as well as to promoting open educational resources, open science and affordable eLearning facilities for ESD. Many urged the international community to prioritize addressing the dramatic interrelated challenges the world is facing, in particular, the environmental, social and economic crises that endanger life on our planet. The urgency of these challenges, exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, would require a fundamental transformation that sets us on the path of sustainable development based on more just, inclusive, caring and peaceful relationships with each other and with nature.
The Group of 77 and China
will introduce an updated General Assembly resolution on education for sustainable development to be negotiated and adopted later this year.