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From recovery to accelerating SDG 4 progress: 2021 Global Education Meeting - Ministerial Segment
Event Date: 
Tue, 2021/07/13
Online (Paris)

The Global Education Meeting’s Ministerial Segment will be held on 13 July at the margins of the 2021 High-Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development.


With the SDG-Education 2030 agenda’s midpoint in sight, countries and the international community face the pressing need to transform ways of working at global level. It is critical to create an enabling environment to accelerate progress towards SDG 4; leveraging partnerships, innovations, and lessons learned from the COVID-19 response.


The 2021 GEM Ministerial Segment will:

  • Endorse the improved Global Education Cooperation Mechanism
  • Take stock of measures and lessons learned from the COVID-19 education response that help to accelerate progress toward SDG 4 as well as regional benchmarks
  • Launch the second report of the UNESCO-UNICEF-World Bank-OECD Survey on National Education Responses to COVID-19 School Closures


Global Education Cooperation Mechanism


The 2020 Global Education Meeting (2020 GEM) triggered a dialogue about improving the Global Education Cooperation Mechanism as a means to support countries to accelerate their progress towards SDG 4, recovering from the COVID-19-affected context. Many called for stronger policy leadership, better synergies, greater efficiency and improved delivery in global and regional cooperation as the response to these goals and challenges.


The 2020 GEM called specifically for a multi-stakeholder consultation process “to develop a proposal to strengthen the SDG-Education 2030 Steering Committee to be able to effectively steer and coordinate the global education cooperation mechanism in line with the Education 2030 Framework for Action and in the post-COVID-19 context”.   UNESCO was mandated to design and lead this process, and a Working Group, co-chaired by UNESCO and Norway, provided inputs and deliberated on various versions of the draft proposal.


An extensive series of consultative meetings with countries and education actors took place. An in-depth and evidence-based review of the current state of the global education architecture, including comparison with the global health and climate sectors, was prepared by an independent expert. A survey of Member States was carried out to explore coordination challenges and good practices at the global, regional and country levels. A consultation on the emerging proposals, across all regions and key constituencies (including civil society organizations, the teaching profession, education in emergency partners, and youth), was conducted in May 2021.


Measures, lessons learned and benchmarks


Since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Education 2030 Framework for Action called on countries to establish “appropriate intermediate benchmarks (e.g. for 2020 and 2025)” for the SDG indicators, seeing them as “indispensable for addressing the accountability deficit associated with longer-term targets”. However, many countries have not yet translated the global targets into specific ones to serve as references to report their progress in a regular manner.


The extraordinary session Global Education Meeting in October 2020 reminded countries of their commitment to the Declaration, which called on “UNESCO and its partners, together with the SDG-Education 2030 Steering Committee, to … accelerate the progress and propose relevant and realistic benchmarks of key SDG 4 indicators for subsequent monitoring”.


This session of the GEM will showcase the regional benchmarks setting. 


Report on National Education Responses to COVID-19 School Closures


As part of the coordinated global education response to the COVID-19 pandemic, UNESCO, UNICEF, World Bank and the OECD conducted three iterations of the Survey on National Education Responses to COVID-19 School Closures.


During the meeting the second joint report of the first three rounds of data collection covering government responses to school closures from pre-primary to secondary education will be launched.


The 2021 GEM will be livestreamed in six languages and will bring together Ministers of Education, Development Cooperation and/or other relevant sectors, senior officials of UN agencies, international organizations, regional organizations and other development partners, representatives of the teaching profession, students and youth, representatives of civil society organizations and private sector and foundations. 


The High-Level Segment of the GEM will be held during the 41st Session of the UNESCO General Conference in November 2021.


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