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Linking Adult Education and Health for Sustainable Development

26 May 2017
Linking the education and health sectors is key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Education and health are inherently linked: according to the third Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE III), education brings health benefits for both individuals and society as a whole, and vice versa. To achieve the multidimensional Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the two policy sectors, education and health, need to work together.

On 15 May 2017, an international seminar entitled “The Impact of Adult Learning and Education on Health and Well-Being – and what it means for the SDGs” took place at the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) in Hamburg, Germany. The event brought together leading education and health experts from academic institutions, the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations University (UNU), UNESCO and UIL, to take stock of the latest research and case studies on the links between health and education, in particular adult learning and education (ALE).

Participants identified best practices and barriers in promoting more integrated policies and programmes concerning ALE and health. Inspiring examples included the Irish Men’s Sheds Association and a UNESCO project on health literacy and behaviour change practices among adolescent girls in the informal settlement of Kibera in Nairobi.

During the seminar, specific attention was given to data gaps and challenges in monitoring the education- and health-related SDG targets. This discussion provided important insights for the preparation of UIL’s 4th Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE IV). The Report, due in 2019, will focus on participation in ALE and further explore the links between education and other sectors (including health), building on the structure of GRALE III published last year.

Representatives of all institutions involved agreed to continue collaborating more closely on this important issue, e.g. by developing common projects linking ALE and health, or by publishing research papers on the impact of ALE on health and well-being.

Linking the education and health sectors is key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

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