Alen coordinates the Bridge 47 Network, a global coalition in support of Global Citizenship Education.
For two weeks, I was involved in the UN High Level Political Forum in New York as part of the Bridge 47 delegation, where the SDG 4 on inclusive, quality education, was reviewed. Coming here for the first time, I cannot say I was unimpressed with the intensity of the two-week long discussions, which are very much in sync with the vibe of the often overwhelming New York City. Numerous meetings and events all aiming to find the best way forward to achieve the 2030 Agenda, have filled the UN headquarters.
I have heard some interesting discussions and opinions on how to proceed with the sustainable development agenda. One thing that struck me at an event I visited the other day was a remark made on the whole underlying slogan of “leaving no one behind”, and how condescending it might sound, having us, privileged decision-shapers allowing someone to be equal with us. Providing everyone a means to decide themselves to be equals, would be a preferred approach. All SDGs are indeed very much interlinked, and it is foolish to think that we can achieve any of them without working on the others. Top-down legislatures are important but are not enough. We need to change people’s behaviours and ways of thinking. I dare to argue that the target 4.7, which talks about transformative lifelong education to engage and inspire citizens to take action for all SDGs, is the key for the achievement of all SDGs by 2030.
Having spent most time running around the UN headquarters, meeting people and trying to extract the trends and tendencies in dealing with the sustainable development around the globe and getting the bigger picture, I was comforted that we in Bridge 47 are far from being alone in our conviction about 4.7. Countless visitors to our, without false modesty, very successful stand, have come to express their support and ask how they could join this movement. Providing offline and online spaces for interested people to critically reflect on our collective and individual actions and learn from each other to make our work more meaningful is what we do in the Bridge 47 Network.
We are now more than ever determined to advance target 4.7 in the national, regional and global context through the function of the learning hub and the advocacy coalition for 4.7. Together, with numerous new friends, we will continue to build our Network on all continents, helping each other find better ways to advocate for transformative education in a variety of settings, with our governments and international organisations, as well as learn from each other how to build more empowering educational practices. We are very inspired with how clear both the potential and the need for the Bridge 47 Network is, and we will keep on growing and remain open to everyone who is convinced in the power of education in shaping active global citizens to change the world.