HLPF 2021 Side Event: The Importance of SDG Target 4.7
Yesterday, Bridge 47 held a side event at the UN’s High Level Political Forum (HLPF) 2021 on ‘The Importance of SDG Target 4.7 for a Just and Sustainable Future in Post COVID Era’.
Co-organised by Bridge 47, the Slovak Republic, ICAE, UNESCO’s Institute for Lifelong Learning and the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Gobal Citizens, the participatory session brough together policy makers, researchers and civil society representatives from around the world to explore what role transformative education could play in responding to current and future challenges, in and beyond a pandemic recovery.
Transformative education, as captured in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target 4.7, is lifelong learning designed to equip people with the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, human rights, and an appreciation of cultural diversity.
In his opening remarks, Ľudovít Paulis, State secretary of the Slovak Ministry of Education, highlighted the important role of education in meeting current and future challenges:
“We all know education is the most powerful investment we can make for the future. I am deeply convinced of the power of education to tackle the challenges ahead. There will be no global recovery from the pandemic without global and transformative education as proposed in SDG Target 4.7.”
The panel exchange took place between Ms Sharmaine Barrett, Vice-President of International Council for Adult Education for the Caribbean Region, Ms Tereza Čajkova, University of British Columbia, Mr. Werner Mauch,UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning Columbia, Monika Froehler, CEO of Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens and Ms. Anna Plassat Muriňová, Slovak Ambassador to UNESCO in Paris.
Question 1: What capacities, skills and knowledge will we need entering the uncertain future marked by the COVID pandemic?
Tereza Čajkova, University of British Columbia, highlighted transformative education as something “well positioned to guide us through an increasingly complex and fragmented world.”
Shermaine Barrett, Vice-President of International Council for Adult Education for the Caribbean Region stressed “our current challenges tell us that we need to be grounded in collective ideas of what it means to be sustainable. We need a culture grounded in equity, we need reflexive action, we need to reflect on what values we want to prioritise, and put dialogue at the centre of what we do”.
Werner Mauch, UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, commented on the importance of adult education and learning, as “dealing with uncertainty and the capacity to act are all key competencies in relation to dealing with a complex world. Adult learning and education need to be understood as sustainability itself, not just as a means to achieve it.”
Question 2: What role can transformative education play in preparing us for the post COVID era?
Monika Froehler, CEO of Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, emphasised the need to “equip every learner with the mindset for sustainable development. However, we also need to take into consideration the inequality between countries – some countries need to invest more into fixing the current problems we have, not only through government, but also through companies and individual action.”
Shermaine Barrett, Vice-President of International Council for Adult Education for the Caribbean Region suggested the need to expand our understanding of education, as real transformative education is something that takes place beyond the walls of schools.
Ms. Anna Plassat Muriňová, Slovak Ambassador to UNESCO in Paris, offered a member states perspective, referring to UNESCO’s global education coalition and Futures of Education initiative, as examples of how SDG 4 and transformative education could strengthen our response to the pandemic.
The event ended with an open discussion with participants.