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A global approach to education is critical to delivering on the SDG’s

On 4 July the UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development (UKSSD) published their milestone report ‘Measuring Up: How the UK is performing on the Sustainable Development Goals’. It is important because for the first time it shows how the UK is performing on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), targeted for 2030.

The ‘Global Goals’, as they are now widely known, seek to strengthen universal peace, recognising ‘that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development.’ In 2015, 193 countries signed up to these Global Goals, including the UK.

The UKSSD report shows that there is lots to celebrate, but it also shows that the most vulnerable people and places in our society are increasingly being left behind. Out of 143 targets considered relevant to the domestic delivery of the Goals, UKSSD found that the UK is performing well on 24% of them (green), but that there are gaps in policy or inadequate performance for 57% of them (amber), and 15% where there is little to no policy in place to address the target (red), or where performance is poor.

All of the goals have relevance to global learning/development education, but for our sector, the key target is SDG 4.7:

By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development…”

On this target the report notes that ‘Education for sustainable development has benefited from the policy priority given to it in Wales and Scotland but lacks a mandate in England’  – truly a gauntlet thrown down for us as a sector to respond to in England.

And it is critical that we do respond, because global learning / development education is central to the UK delivering on its commitment. Our young people will ultimately be next generations’ decision makers and global learning, using the SDG’s as a framework, is the best way to ensure they are global citizens.

As so well stated by the UN Education and Academic Stakeholder Group:

To achieve this, we need education for transformative change. We need education that enables all people to participate meaningfully, to critically engage in sustainable development, and to imagine and create new futures….. Not enough is being done to achieve this. It is essential that Global Citizenship Education and Education for Sustainable Development are mainstreamed across formal, non-formal and informal education.”

UKSSD is calling for leadership from the Government supported by cross-sector action from businesses, charities and people to ensure the UK achieves the SDGs as quickly as possible. We in the global learning sector need to ensure that the contributions we are making are given a high profile and high priority, and that the role education can play in helping the UK to deliver on its targets is recognised by decision makers at the highest level.

For further information contact Judy Chaussalet

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