SDG Adv Qatar
09 December 2021



Since the inception of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2016, the Secretary-General’s SDG Advocates have tirelessly worked to bring education to the center of sustainable development.

Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser plays a key and active role in spearheading educational reforms in Qatar and around the world. Her organization, Education Above All (EAA), seeks to reach children out of school and empower them with education. His Highness Muhammad Sanusi II SDG Challenge on the other hand, supports teachers in developing innovative projects to increase access to quality, gender-responsive education in sub-Saharan Africa.

Other SDG Advocates  also contribute to advancing education globally. Richard Curtis engages schools around the world to give agency to young people in advancing the SDGs through Project Everyone. Kailash Satyarthi’s organization, Bachpan Bachao Andolan rescues children from forced labour, trafficking and other forms of exploitation, and offers education as the tool to break the larger economy of child labour.

For the past three days, EAA has gathered thousands of education stakeholders at the 2021 WISE Summit in Doha to discuss challenges that education faces today - especially as an area that has a wide multisectoral influence.

Education and SDGs Exhibition at 2021 WISE Summit Photo credit : Education Above All
Education and SDGs Exhibition at 2021 WISE Summit. Photo credit : Education Above All

As the SDG exhibition space at WISE illustrates, education is at the heart of sustainable development and investing in it is a smart way to bring significant progress to many of the SDGs simultaneously.

Education is a weapon against chronic poverty (SDG 1), hunger (SDG 2) and a tool for equitable economic growth (SDG 8). According to UNICEF, every US$ 1 spent on early child education results in US$ 9 of benefits to society.

Education is also a gateway into the labour force for both male and female citizens, which in turn brings us to SDG 5, gender equality. Education is empowering and thus access to it must be equal. It is a fundamental human right.

Literacy can drastically improve the health and well-being of all citizens (SDG 3). Knowledge of good water and sanitation (SDG 6) habits can help avoid diseases – from small illnesses to global epidemics like COVID-19.

Finally, as Forest Whitaker passionately articulated at the 4th International Conference on the Safe Schools Declaration, schools are safe spaces that must be protected. It is where children can build peaceful futures, where ex-combatants have the opportunity to heal and reconcile with communities, and it is a field that nourishes curiosity, solidarity, and skill sets for peace and prosperity (SDG 16).

The theme of 2021 WISE Summit is “Generation Unmute: Reclaiming Our Future Through Education.” Education is indeed at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals because it empowers young people, the protagonists of our future, to build the future that they deserve.

Education Above All
Education and SDGs Exhibition at 2021 WISE Summit Photo credit : Education Above All