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Education 2030: A commitment to lifelong learning

29 March 2019

‘The whole 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is grounded on the principle of lifelong learning,’ said Stefania Giannini, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education, during an information session on the contribution of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) to ‘Making lifelong learning for all a reality’.

UNESCO Member States from every world region attended the session, organized by UIL and the Permanent Delegation of the Federal Republic of Germany to UNESCO, in Paris on 26 March 2019. Speakers highlighted the relevance of lifelong learning to contemporary challenges such as climate change, mass population movements and the technological revolution, and stressed the key role of UIL in supporting countries in addressing them.

H.E. Stefan Krawielicki, Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of the Federal Republic of Germany to UNESCO, said that ‘education is a human right and key for the Sustainable Development Goals,’ noting that the ‘transversal and overarching’ nature of lifelong learning placed it firmly ‘at the centre of UNESCO’s activities’.

Mrs Malak Zaalouk, Chair of UIL’s Governing Board, argued that ‘the ‘scale and interdependency of the challenges we face in our societies’ called for ‘a cogent, integrated approach to education governance – sector-wide, cross-sectoral and multi-level – with lifelong learning at its heart’.

‘Raising the profile of lifelong learning, persuading policy-makers of its wider relevance and producing evidence of what works and where progress is lacking’, were all crucial parts of the case we need to make to national policy-makers to fully realize the potential of lifelong learning, she argued.

H.E. Ms Mariam Y. Katagum, Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to UNESCO, stressed the importance of basic literacy in the context of lifelong learning. She reminded the audience that literacy is the first priority area identified by the Global Education Meeting that took place in Brussels, December 2018.

H.E. Ms Viviane Morales, Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of Colombia to UNESCO, shared the progress made by her country in promoting lifelong learning, underlining the importance of the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities to achieve lifelong learning and the wider 2030 Agenda. In this respect, Ambassador Morales highlighted the progress made in establishing learning cities in Colombia and invited Member States to participate in the 4th International Conference on Learning Cities, to be held from 1 to 3 October 2019, in Medellín, Colombia.

David Atchoarena, UIL’s Director, said: ‘It was extremely gratifying to hear about the progress made in Member States in making lifelong learning a reality for all. The potential of lifelong learning is evident, but there is much to do still to make the case within countries, as well as at global level, to ensure the very substantial potential contribution of lifelong learning to the 2030 Agenda is not lost.’