SDG Advocates G4
26 October 2020



On October 22, Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Advocates President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway, Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of Belgium, Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, and Jeffrey Sachs participated in the extraordinary High-level Global Education Meeting (GEM) organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and co-hosted by Ghana, Norway, and the United Kingdom. The Advocates, UN Secretary General António Guterres, Heads of State, and Governments recommitted to financing education, especially following  the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, by adopting the 2020 GEM Declaration. According to the Declaration, education must be every governments’ priority in order to build back better; however, only less than 1% of national stimulus packages are allocated to improving education. 

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Photo credit: UNESCO/C.Alex

President Nana Akufo-Addo recognized UNESCO’s role in improving global education coordination to accelerate progress towards SDG4. “These setbacks risk compromising and even reversing the gains that have been made towards the attaining of SDG 4, pushing millions out of education systems and lowering their chance of future employability,” said the co-chair of the SDG Advocates and of the meeting.

Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway, co-host of the meeting, stated that “financing of education should not be regarded as an expenditure, but as the best investment societies can make. The right to education will remain an empty promise unless education spending increases. We need to mobilize more international financing for global education.”

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Photo credit: UNESCO/C.Alex

Her Majesty Queen Mathilde discussed the nexus between education and mental health and mentioned that “the right to education needs to be put into practice. It will be terribly difficult to lay sustainable foundations for this unless we pay particular attention to mental health and the mental wellbeing of children and young people, teachers, and parents.”

Education for all cannot be achieved without strong multilateralism and collaboration which was emphasized by Advocate and Founder of Education Above All Foundation Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser. “Coordination between governments, digital education companies, and NGOs can bridge the divide and create equity in education. I ask tech companies to step up and contribute to close the digital gap by directing their efforts to develop and scale up these innovative grassroots solutions,” said H.H Shekha Moza.

Advocate Jeffery Sachs closed the meeting by underlining that “we are facing the biggest education catastrophe in modern history” and called for urgent investment in education to prevent a generational catastrophe.

To watch the entire Global Education Meeting, click here.

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Photo credit: UNESCO/C.Alex