On 10th February 2022, the Group of Friends for Education and Lifelong Learning participated in the first consultation on “Our Common Agenda” convened by the President of the 76th session of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Abdulla Shahid.
Focusing on the first thematic cluster “Accelerating and scaling up the SDGs, leaving no-one behind”, the consultation provided an opportunity for an exchange between the Secretary-General and Member states on the concrete proposals, options and potential means of implementation of the “Our Common Agenda”.
Elaborating on the way forward, the Secretary-General reiterated his plan to convene a summit on Transforming Education in September 2022. Proposed in ‘Our Common Agenda’ as part of the focus on better representing young people and future generations, the Summit will aim to avert a generational catastrophe and rethink education systems worldwide.
In her capacity as chair of the Group of Friends for Education and Lifelong Learning, H.E. Ms. Njambi Kinyungu, Deputy Permanent Representative of Kenya to the United Nations, participated at the meeting and delivered a message of Group’s support and engagement with the preparation of the Transforming Education Summit.
Underscoring that education is a key sector contributing to individuals’ empowerment, nations’ economic growth, social cohesion, and improved protection of the planet, she recalled lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, including the need to keep learning amidst major global challenges, such as environmental damage and climate change, widening inequalities, as well as rapid scientific and technological change. Innovation and cross-border movement have also driven the demand for certain skills such as language, mathematic reasoning, scientific knowledge – all of which are associated with higher levels of education and would require further modernisation of our education systems to ensure their improved quality and relevance.
The Group called for greater mobilisation of the political will and action to modernise and improve the relevance of education for all globally, including through the Transforming Education Summit. She reminded of the importance to step up “international collaboration to place education and lifelong learning at the centre of the recovery and the transformation towards more inclusive, safe, and sustainable societies.
Finally, the Group reiterated the call that the process should be guided by the need to secure political will and national ownership of member states as it builds on existing global structures, such as the renewed Global Coordination Mechanism for Education supported by UNESCO.
The Group of Friends was launched on 24th January 2019 on the International Day of Education. It was ‘commissioned” by the UNESCO led SDG-Education 2030 Steering Committee, the global multi-stakeholder consultation and coordination mechanism for education in the 2030 Agenda, to ensure enhanced advocacy on the ten education targets at the UN decision-making bodies.
Since its creation, this informal Group has become a well-known and established stakeholder at the United Nations and among education networks, due to the strong commitment and active involvements of its co-chairs and members at the UN decision-making bodies, such as the UN General Assembly, ECOSOC and its subsidiary organs and other United Nations forums.
The primary objective of the Group of Friends for Education and Lifelong Learning is to provide an informal platform for the Member states’ delegations and major education partners to deliver on agreed messages on education, in particular those on the transformative power of education within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The group also provides an opportunity for diplomats to engage with experts and facilitate exchange of experience and best practices.
Learn More: UNESCO