top of page
Image by Pavan Trikutam

The G7 Education Ministers’ Declaration - A bumpy road forward to SDG 4?

On 27-29 June, G7 Ministers responsible for education met in Trieste, Italy, as part of the G7 meeting. The meeting was rooted in the need to prioritise quality education to chart a clear, common course towards sustainable societies and resilient individuals. Discussions focused on the strategic role of education and the need to reinforce multilateral cooperation amidst interconnected global challenges, including the climate crisis and the digital revolution transforming societies at a rapid pace. In fact, the impact that current multiple, interconnected crises have on education systems is enormous, just like the power of education to prepare for change and mitigate against key threats such as conflicts, climate change and economic crises alike.


The meeting resulted in a powerful Declaration. Upholding education as a universal human right, the declaration supports the 2030 Agenda and specifically its Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4), which serves as the global framework for inclusive and equitable quality education. SDG 4 was rightfully mentioned as an enabling goal, in that achieving quality education for all would accelerate the achievement of all other SDGs, echoing the conclusions of the 2022 United Nations Transforming Education Summit and in view of the upcoming Summit of the Future, in September 2024. 

UNESCO welcomed the declaration. “In this moment of dramatic change, investing in education is what we need the most,” said Stefania Giannini, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education. “It empowers us to better understand the world and to actively participate in democracy, the economy, peace-building efforts, and climate action.” 

Pillars of the declaration include “Valorising everyone's talent” and “Innovative education and new competences”. Unfortunately, these points confine education as an instrument to match supply and demand for competences in the labour market. LLLP has denounced this labour market informed approach to education and training in his 2022 Position paper, dismissing it as problematic for its wider benefits on personal and societal development. These aspects of learning are overlooked in the Ministers’ Declaration. Even the concept of “lifelong learning”, albeit being mentioned throughout the declaration, mistakenly conceals lifelong learning as adult education only. 

Interestingly, Ministers place hope on the Global Education Meeting (GEM) organised by UNESCO and hosted in Fortaleza, Brazil, at the end of October, back-to-back with the G20 Education Ministers meeting. The 2024 GEM is set to be a significant milestone in global education, providing a platform for stakeholders to review progress, share best practices, and address the challenges in achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) on quality education. And the appointment of European Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen as Chair of the GEM Report Advisory Board is certainly positive news to foster more cooperation with the EU. This GEM will rally the international community around collective acceleration efforts on SDG 4 targets, something that education stakeholders need more than ever: their presence in the GEM will be decisive to steer the global momentum.


bottom of page