The Consultation Meeting of the UNESCO Category 2 Centres in Education, entitled “Quality Education for a Peaceful and Sustainable Asia-Pacific: The Role of UNESCO Category 2 Centres in Education 2030” was held from 23 to 24 November 2017 in Bangkok, Thailand. Co-organized by the UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education (UNESCO Bangkok) and APCEIU, the meeting aimed to share the achievements and challenges of the participating organizations in the implementation of SDG 4 and to identify ways within their work plans on how to promote SDG Target 4.7 as a cross-cutting theme. This meeting is a first of its kind, which serves as an important opportunity to reflect on the year that was and open the discussion on how to promote synergies and increase the impact of planned activities together.
The meeting gathered 25 participants from UNESCO Category 2 Centres in the Asia-Pacific, as well as Category 1 Institutes, relevant UNESCO field offices and UNESCO regional bureaus. The participating UNESCO Category 2 Centres include existing centres (APCEIU, INRULED, SACTD, SEA CLLSD), and the newly established centres (ICHEI, IMLI), making up to a total of six centres in education located in the region. The said centres are as follows:
Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU), Seoul, Republic of Korea
International Research and Training Centre for Rural Education (INRULED), Beijing, People’s Republic of China
South Asian Centre for Teacher Development (SACTD), Meepe, Sri Lanka
South East Asia Centre of Lifelong Learning for Sustainable Development (SEA CLLSD), Manila, Philippines
International Centre for Higher Education Innovation (ICHEI), Shenzhen, China
International Mother Language Institute (IMLI), Dhaka, Bangladesh
In her welcoming remarks, Ms Maki Hayashikawa, Director ai of UNESCO Bangkok extended her gratitude to APCEIU for contributing to the organization of the meeting. She also stated that “The meeting is timely as we have just finished with the General Conference, and UNESCO is in the process of finalizing its work plans for 2018-2021”. Reflecting the message from UNESCO Bangkok, Mr Utak Chung, Director of APCEIU, has mentioned that within the challenging environment that UNESCO is facing, cooperation among UNESCO entities, including regional bureaus, field offices, Category 1 Institutes and Category 2 Centres, is crucial in realizing the goal of the Organization, including SDG 4.
The Meeting explored and identified the role of UNESCO Category 2 Centres in Education 2030 by reinforcing cooperation and community-building and sharing achievements and strategies for realization of SDG 4 in the Asia-Pacific. It also explored possible areas of cooperation between UNESCO Category 2 Centres, Category 1 Institutes and Field Offices, with particular focus on SDG Target 4.7.
The sessions on the first day included presentations from participating institutions on implementation and actions of SDG 4, with a special focus on SDG 4.7. Followed by the presentations, a mapping activity was held to identify SDG 4.7 activities and actions of each participating organization to explore the status of the SDG 4.7 implementation in the region. It was identified that many of the participating organizations have activities that focus on capacity-building of educators and research and development.
Following this mapping activity, group discussions focusing on collaboration, particularly on mainstreaming SDG 4.7 in SDG 4 implementation activities of the organizations took place. The meeting ended with a presentation of UNESCO Bangkok on its plans for the new UNESCO biennium (2018-2019), sharing the status of the region on SDG 4, and areas of possible collaboration. A communications strategy between UNESCO bureaus, field offices, Category 1 Institutes and Category 2 Centres was proposed to sustainably promote cooperation. Joint programming, including the co-organization of activities that tackle the diverse topics of SDG 4.7 and the topics that different UNESCO Category 2 Centres are covering, has been proposed for further discussion in 2018.