Adult learning for sustainable development: taking stock of achievements since 2009

28 July 2015

‘Living and learning for a viable future – the power of adult learning’ was the motto of UNESCO’s Sixth International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VI, 2009). Is it still valid in the light of the new UN development goals? At the 9th World Assembly of the International Council for Adult Education (ICAE), which took place in Montreal, Canada, in June 2015, UIL Director Arne Carlsen announced that the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) will organize a CONFINTEA Mid-Term Conference in late 2016. Several Member States have expressed interest in hosting this conference, which will review implementation to date of the recommendations laid down in the Belém Framework for Action (BFA, 2009). Together with third Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE III), which will be published by UIL in 2016, the Mid-Term Conference will help to position adult learning and education (ALE) in relation to the United Nations’ forthcoming Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The conference will provide a forum for the international ALE community to assess achievements made so far and agree on a road map towards further implementation of the BFA recommendations.

In its final declaration, the ICAE World Assembly emphasized that education for sustainable development is ‘integral for the future’ and called on the UN Summit on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (September 2015, New York) to accord priority to universal adult literacy and adult education. The Director and staff of UIL highlighted the function of ALE for sustainable development in several Assembly workshops and sessions.


• Communities in Action – Lifelong Learning for Sustainable Development. Available at http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0023/002341/234185e.pdf

• 2nd Global Report on Adult Learning and Education: Rethinking Literacy. Hamburg, UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, 2013. 163 p. Available at http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002224/222407e.pdf

• Global Report on Adult Learning and Education. Hamburg, UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, 2009. 156 p. Available at http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001864/186431e.pdf

• CONFINTEA VI, Belém Framework for Action: harnessing the power and potential of adult learning and education for a viable future. Hamburg, UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, 2010. 38 p. Available from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001877/187789m.pdf

• International Council for Adult Education (ICAE). The Right to education and lifelong learning: supporting materials for advocacy in the post-2015 process. Montevideo, 2013. Available at http://www.icae2.org/images/post2015/guide1EN.pdf, http://www.icae2.org/images/post2015/guide2EN.pdf, http://www.icae2.org/images/post2015/guide3EN.pdf, http://www.icae2.org/images/post2015/guide4EN.pdf