logoDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

1. What decisions or new strategies has the governing body of your organization taken to guide the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs? Please provide a brief summary below, including the overarching vision of your governing body for the Decade of Action on the SDGs.

UNESCO has aligned its medium term strategy and its programme and budget with the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, since its adoption in 2015. This is reflected most recently in its quadrennial programme and budget for 2018 – 2021 (39 C/5), adopted by UNESCO’s General Conference in 2017. The 39 C/5 is fully aligned with the 2030 Agenda and reflects how UNESCO is supporting Member States to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

The second part of this quadrennial cycle is reflected in the programme and budget for 2020 – 2021 (40 C/5), in which the General Conference stressed UNESCO’s added value in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in the areas of education, culture, the sciences, communication and information. The 40 C/5 fully incorporates the UN reform process initiated by the UN Secretary-General in order to galvanize action on the SDGs to implement the 2030 Agenda.

In this context, the Organization focuses on reaching those that have been left behind first, including the most vulnerable groups of populations and countries. Its action focuses on enhancing access to quality education, promoting open access to science and research and its ethical use, freedom of the press and safety of journalists, and protecting cultural and natural heritage.

2. At the secretariat level, what steps has your organization taken (or will it take) in the follow-up to the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs? Please specify actions, including but not limited to the following areas:

2.1 SDG-specific strategies, plans or work programmes;

  • “Major Programme I – Education” is structured around three strategic objectives: Supporting Member States to develop education systems to foster high quality and inclusive lifelong learning for all; Empowering learners to be creative and responsible global citizens; Leading and coordinating the Education 2030 These strategic objectives are aligned with the 2030 Agenda, in particular SDG 4

– Education. The main purpose is to achieve inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, to support countries in the implementation of the SDG 4-Education 2030 agenda, and to fulfill UNESCO’s mandate as entrusted to it by the international community to lead the coordination of the agenda and review/monitor progress towards the internationally agreed upon sustainable development goal (SDG) on education (4) and to the achievement of the other SDGs.

  • “Major Programme II – Natural Sciences” is structured around two strategic objectives with special emphasis on Africa, gender equality, least developed countries (LDCs) and small island developing States (SIDS), as well as youth and the most vulnerable segments of society: Strengthening science, technology and innovation systems and policies nationally, regionally and globally; Promoting international scientific cooperation on critical challenges to sustainable (SDG 6, 9, 13, 14, 15)
  • “Major Programme III – Social and human sciences” aims to support inclusive social development and to foster intercultural dialogue for the rapprochement of cultures and promoting ethical principles. (SDG 5)
  • “Major Programme IV – Culture” aims to protect, promote and sustainably manage heritage in all its forms as a repository for knowledge, driver of economic growth and vector for dialogue and reconciliation, as well as to foster creativity and the diversity of cultural expressions, in order to promote culture-engaged sustainable development. (SDG 11)
  • “Major Programme V – Communication and Information” aims to promote freedom of expression, media development and access to information and knowledge and to ensure the safety of journalist. (SDG 16)

2.2 Aligning the structure of the organization with the SDGs and the transformative features of the 2030 Agenda, including any challenges and lessons learned in doing so;

UNESCO is transforming the way it works to effectively support countries in the delivery of the 2030 Agenda, including through: expanding its multi-stakeholder partnerships and promoting South-South and triangular cooperation; transitioning towards ‘structured financing dialogues’ to support comprehensive, integrated participatory planning on financing priorities and needs; working in close partnership with the UN System at large, including in the context of the ongoing process of the repositioning of the UN Development System; enhancing programme delivery at the national level within UN mechanisms, improving public access to quality data about its work as a key component of its commitment to strengthening transparency and accountability, and working to leverage the power of science and technology. 

2.3 Readjusting or updating results-based budgeting and management, including performance indicators;

During the preparation of the current Programme and Budget for 2020-2021 (document 40 C/5), emphasis was placed on the need to build solid premises for the Organization to support, along with its Member States and partners, the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the achievement of the SDGs. In this context, 40 C/5 expected results and performance indicators were aligned with the 2030 Agenda, its SDGs and targets through a dedicated mapping exercise involving all of UNESCO’s Major Programmes. Furthermore, the 2020 Strategic Results Report (to be presented to the Executive Board at its 209th session) will provide the analysis of results achieved by UNESCO in its areas of competence between 2016 and 2019. 

The contribution to the 2030 Agenda was further specified within a narrative elaborated for each C/5 expected result presenting also the key elements of the theory of change, mainstreaming Global Priority Gender Equality and youth and identifying areas of interdisciplinary cooperation. The latter has favored the adoption of integrated approaches in the design and implementation of UNESCO’s interventions. Sound application of Results-Based Management (RBM) was also further pursued through the formulation of clearer outcome oriented performance indicators, associated baselines and targets disaggregated by Africa and SIDS Member States defined in line with the Integrated Budget Framework (i.e. on the basis of assessed and voluntary recourses and the Funding GAP). 

In addition, UNESCO’s Results-Based Budgeting and management tools were adjusted to reflect the programme sectors specific contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals, allowing for thorough monitoring and reporting. 

Furthermore, UNESCO’s current biennial budget is based on an Integrated Budget Framework, allowing greater transparency of resources, and helping the Organization to align all of its resources on the priorities designated by its General Conference and aligned with the 2030 Agenda. This facilitates the Structured Financing Dialogues, bringing together the Secretariat with its Member States and the donor community at large, to jointly ensure the funding necessary for the implementation of the programme and achievement of the C/5 expected results. These efforts will substantially enhance UNESCO’s overall effectiveness at resource mobilization. 

2.4 Action to enhance support to the principle of "leaving no one behind" and to integrated policy approaches;

UNESCO is enhancing its support to the principle of “leaving no one behind” by focusing its action on reaching the most disadvantaged and excluded groups, as well as countries and segments of societies furthest behind, as reflected in its Medium-Term Strategy for 2014- 2021 (37 C/4) and translated namely in particular into its Programme and Budget for 2018-2021. 

The Organization recognizes gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls as one of its two global priorities. UNESCO is mainstreaming gender equality in all of its programmes to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Its programme and budget for 2020-2021 (40 C/5) promotes gender equality and provides support to countries in Africa in all of its programmes, while also mainstreaming specific interventions for youth, LDCs, SIDS, and marginalized social and ethnic groups, including indigenous peoples and local communities. 

Furthermore, UNESCO continues its commitment to providing special assistance to countries in conflict and crisis, or affected by disasters, while helping countries strengthen resilience through preventive action. 

In addition, UNESCO provides regularly reports on achievements of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Among others, “UN World Water Development Report 2019: Leaving No One Behind” focused on the possible improvement in water resources management and access to water supply and sanitation services to overcome poverty and fill in the gap of the other inequities, or its “2019 Global Education Monitoring Report” calling attention to the fact that 263 million children do not have access to the education. 

This overarching and longstanding strategic commitment to reaching the furthest behind is complemented by more specific strategies and action plans, such as the recently launched UNESCO policy on engaging with indigenous peoples and the Organization’s dedicated SIDS Action Plan, adopted in 2016. 

2.5 Action to address the interlinkages across SDG goals and targets;

UNESCO is bringing all its weight to supporting countries through new, innovative and integrated approaches. From advancing inclusive quality education for all to promoting integrated water resources management, ocean sustainability and protection of biodiversity, from advancing sustainable cities, deepening social inclusion, mitigating and adapting to climate change, to preventing violent extremism and “cultural cleansing” and defending freedom of expression and media development. 

One of the exemplary initiatives addressing the importance of interlinkages across SDGs is the UNESCO Director-General’s project “Revive the Spirit of Mosul” (launched in 2018). This initiative is the Organization’s response for the recovery of one of Iraq’s iconic cities. While, Reviving Mosul is not only about reconstructing heritage sites, it is also about empowering the population as agents of change involved in the process of sustainably rebuilding their city through culture and education in order to create sustainable, cohesive and equitable society. 

2.6 Others.

3. What normative, analytical, technical assistance or capacity building activities is your organization providing to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs? Please provide a brief account of the activities you have organized or intend to undertake, including but not limited to the following areas:

3.1 Enhancing national implementation including by supporting the mainstreaming of the SDGs in development plans and policies or through national sustainable development plans/strategies;

UNESCO is supporting countries in developing their national sustainable development strategies and promoting policy coherence to achieve the SDGs through its specialized expertise in education, the sciences, culture and communication and information. 

UNESCO contributes significantly to nine SDGs (SDG 4, 5, 6, 11, 13, 14, 15 and 16) through an integrated approach, drawing on all of its areas of specialized expertise and in close partnership with UN entities and partners from the public and private sector. These nine SDGs contribute directly to poverty eradication (SDG 1) as reflected in UNESCO’s mission statement, to reducing inequalities (SDG 10), and to supporting partnerships for the goals (SDG 17). 

UNESCO’s key role for the attainment of these goals has been identified as early as July 2016: recognized normative mandate and provider of upstream policy support and capacity development to Member States; global leadership or shared leadership and coordination role; global monitoring and benchmarking role; global advocacy role to sustain political commitment; leads or co-leads global multi-stakeholder coalitions and/or inter-agency mechanisms. Furthermore, this key role is reflected in its current Programme and budget (40 C/5). 

See below for more detailed information.

3.2 Mainstreaming the SDGs in sectoral strategies, including specific SDG/target strategies;

Education: In 2014-15, UNESCO advocated a single education agenda and successfully led the process of defining the Education 2030 Agenda, encapsulated in SDG 4. In UNESCO’s current programme and budget (2018-2021), document 39 C/5, ten expected results contribute directly to nine out of the 10 SDG 4 targets/means of implementation and education-related targets in other SDGs. UNESCO’ work also focused on supporting Member States in core planning processes, sector-wide policy development and mainstreaming SDG 4 into national plans and strategies. UNESCO’s work in the area of education will also contribute to the achievement of other SDGs, SDG 1, 3, 5, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16, and 17. 

Nature Sciences: UNESCO’s unique comparative advantage in science underpins the entire sustainable development agenda, and positions the Organization to assist its Member States, in particular its Member States in Africa, in their efforts, including towards gender equality, to achieve the SDGs 5, 6, 9, 11, 13, 15, and 17. With a full SDG 6 on water and sanitation, and the key role of water in the achievement of other water-related SDG targets, the Sendai Framework and the Paris Agreement on Climate, UNESCO will contribute to the implementation of the Decade on Water for Sustainable Development (2018-2028) and other water-related agendas. 

Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC): IOC focuses on its specific role as a “custodian agency” in the framework of SDG14 for two SDG targets on ocean acidification (14.3) and marine science capacity (14.a), as well as key technical partner for targets focused on marine pollution (14.1) and ecosystem-based management (14.2). The Commission’s mandate also contains broad objectives relevant to the entire 2030 Agenda. Beyond SDG 14, most of the Goals are dependent on the ocean, especially SDG 2 on food security and improved nutrition, SDG 4 on lifelong learning opportunities, SDG 8 on economic growth and productive employment, SDG 11 on resilient and sustainable cities, SDG 13 on climate change, SDG 15 on biodiversity and SDG 17 on partnerships. 

Social and Human Sciences: The 2030 Agenda provides an opportunity for the social and human sciences to firmly entrench universal values and principles – such as global solidarity, inclusion, anti-discrimination, gender equality and accountability – in the efforts of Member States and other key stakeholders to implement the SDGs. The work of UNESCO’s Social and Human Sciences Programme makes a direct contribution to supporting Member States in the achievement of three Sustainable Development Goals: SDG 16 (targets 

16.6 and 16.7) and SDG 11 (target 11.3). It also provides contributions to supporting Member States in the implementation of other SDGs and a number of associated targets: SDGs 1, 3, 4, 5, 10, 13 and SDG 17. The complexity of the 2030 Agenda requires greater policy coherence in addressing the SDGs by ensuring stronger linkages between social science research and public policies. 

Culture: The five heritage conventions are well-positioned to support the achievement of SDG 11 on cities, in particular its Target 4 on the protection and safeguarding of cultural and natural heritage. The 1972 World Heritage Convention especially will address key development matters such as climate change, sustainable tourism, inclusion and equity. The heritage conventions should also play an important role in supporting the achievement of SDG 4 target 7 on the appreciation of cultural diversity, especially the 2003 Intangible Heritage Convention through its intersectoral cooperation with the Education Sector. The 1970 Convention on illicit trafficking offers potential for SDG 16 target 4 on the recovery and return of stolen assets and combatting organized crime. Finally, the 2005 Convention on the diversity of cultural expressions, whose article 13 includes the explicit objective of integrating culture in development policies, is well positioned. Its global monitoring framework tested during the past quadrennium has provided evidence demonstrating how Parties, when adopting policies inspired by the Convention, are contributing to several SDGs, including SDG 5 Target c. on policies and legislation for the promotion of gender equality, as well as SDGs 8, 10, 16 and 17. 

Communication and Information: Within Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target 16.10 on fundamental freedoms and public access to information, UNESCO is designated to monitor implementation of indicator 16.10.2 (public access to information) and contribute to monitoring 16.10.1 (safety of journalists). In the years ahead, UNESCO Communication and Information Department will focus its attention on harnessing the use of communication and information for the attainment of all 17 SDGs, with a particular focus on SDG 4, 5, 8, 9, 11, 13, 16, and 17. 

3.3 Supporting the strengthening of national institutions for more integrated solutions;

UNESCO is actively participating in the repositioning of the UN Development System, including through its participation and country and regional level in the CCA/UNSDCF process. Through the new CCA/UNSDCF process, which embodies a new era of collaboration to accelerate joined up, integrated action to achieve the SDGs, UNESCO is working to strengthen national institutions to provide more integrated solutions. This includes providing capacity building to ministers of education, science and technology and culture in UNESCO’s area of expertise. 

3.4 Data and statistical capacity building;

UNESCO supports the data revolution across the SDGs. The UNESCO Institute for Statistics 5UIS) collects disaggregated data relate to the Organization’s areas of expertise and provide institutional expertise in the development, collection and analysis of internationally comparable statistics and related capacity development and policy. The Technical Cooperation Group (TCG) on SDG 4 – Education 2030 Indicators serves as the platform for Member States and education stakeholders to help refine and implement the thematic indicator framework while forging the consensus needed to mobilise efforts to address the measurement challenges. As a result of this work, countries will be able to report a total of 33 indicators – including the 11 global monitoring indicators – in 2018. The development work on the remaining indicators continues through a series of TCG working groups and taskforces created by the Global Alliance to Monitor Learning (GAML). 

To produce the world’s most comprehensive global education database, the UIS works on a daily basis with national statistical offices and line ministries around the world. The UIS helps countries to: assess their specific data needs for policymaking; identify relevant data sources; assess the quality of existing data and map gaps; and develop national strategies for the development of education statistics. 

In the field of science, the UIS is the only statistical agency to collect data on research and development in countries at all stages of development. Results from the survey are being used to monitor a key target of SDG 9, which calls for the enhancement of scientific research and innovation especially in developing countries. 

The topic of women in science is a major priority for the UIS and the subject of an award-winning interactive data tool (http://uis.unesco.org/apps/visualisations/women-in-science/). With the support of the Swedish Government, the UIS is developing new indicators and methodologies to better monitor the status of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. 

UIS has been laying the foundations to expand the production and use of cultural statistics through partnerships with different types of organizations. In particular, the Institute is developing new statistics on cultural heritage to support the monitoring of SDG Target 11.4. 

UNESCO also launched the Water Information Network System (IHP-WINS) as a unique open access portal, containing comprehensive and relevant data in support of evidence based decision-making. The World Water Assessment Programme, coordinated by UNESCO, produced, on behalf of UN-Water, the World Water Development Reports 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 as well as a series of tools on sex-disaggregated indicators for water assessment, monitoring and reporting, and has been coordinating the SDG 6 Synthesis Report to inform the debates of the UN High Level Political Forum in July 2018 during the review of SDGs. 

Within Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target 16.10 on fundamental freedoms and public access to information, UNESCO is designated to monitor implementation of indicator 16.10.2 (public access to information) and contribute to monitoring 16.10.1 (safety of journalists). 

UNESCO’s Media Development Indicators deepened their use as a well-established reference for media development stakeholders worldwide, with 15 studies completed since 2014 across Africa, the Arab region, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean. The IPDC also produced valuable resources for journalism education, including two compendia of syllabi. 

Data and information systems have also been supported through UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring Report (SDG 4), its Global Ocean Science Report (SDG 14), its Global Science Report (SDG 9 and 17), the World Water Development Report (SDG 6), as well as its global reports on inequalities (SDG 10), freedom of expression (SDG 16), and culture (SDG 11). 

3.5 Harnessing science, technology and innovation for the SDGs;

UNESCO is working to strengthen science, technology and innovation systems and policies – nationally, regionally and globally. This includes supporting the creation and enhancement of enabling policy environments in Member States for science, technology and innovation (STI) for sustainable development including the strengthening of the science-policy-society interface to advance equity and social inclusion. This includes the mobilization of the full spectrum of sciences to advance sustainable development and to address complex and interlinked global challenges in a transdisciplinary way. Capacity development for research and education in science and engineering is also supported, including through the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), the World Academy of Sciences for the advancement of science in developing countries (TWAS), UNESCO-affiliated centers as well as UNESCO Chairs; and targeted activities in collaboration with a wide range of public and private partners, with special emphasis on using the power of ICTs. 

3.6 Multi-stakeholder partnerships;

UNESCO has developed a number of multi-stakeholder partnerships to support the implementation of the SDGs. One such example is the SDG-Education 2030 Steering Committee, established by UNESCO in May 2016. It has been serving as the main global multi- stakeholder consultation and coordination mechanism for SDG 4. 

Consultations have been organized across all regions/sub-regions (1 footnote), many of which have resulted in roadmaps that aim to ensure more coordinated country support for implementation and monitoring of SDG 4. UNESCO has also facilitated other mechanisms, particularly the Consultative Consultation of NGOs (CCNGO) on Education 2030. 

Other multi stakeholder partnerships led or co-led by UNESCO include UNESCO Global Network for Water and Development Information for Arid Lands (G-WADI); UNESCO’s International Droughts Initiative (IDI); interagency International Floods Initiative (IFI); UNESCO’s membership of UN water and UN-Oceans; the Technology Facilitation Mechanism interagency group, the Technology Bank for the LDCs; UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and Issue of Impunity; the United Nations Group on the Information Society (UNGIS) and the Broadband Digital Commission; the International Decade the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022) and its Action Plan. UNESCO is the Founding member of the Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). 

(1 footnote) West and Central Africa (Dakar, November 2015, September 2016); Asia and the Pacific (Bangkok, November 2015, November 2016 and July 2017); Arab States (Cairo, December 2015; Dubai March 2017); Central Asia (Almaty, February 2017); Europe and North America (Paris, October 2016); East Africa (Dar es-Salaam, February 2016); Latin America and the Caribbean (Buenos Aires, January 2017); South Asia (September 2016); Partnership of Nine High-Population (E-9) Countries (Dhaka, February 2017); Africa – The Pan- African High-level conference on Education (Nairobi, April 2018); Europe and North America (Strasbourg, November 2018); Latin America and the Caribbean (Santiago de Chile, January 2019); Asia and Pacific (Bangkok, July 2019); Arab States (Riyadh, October 2019) 

3.7 Bolstering local action and supporting sub-national plans/strategies and implementation for the SDGs;

UNESCO partners with cities as a space to link upstream and downstream actions. The role of city authorities as policy-makers at the local level, can create dynamic synergies. UNESCO is supporting sub-national plans/ strategies and implementation for the SDGs through its networks of cities-Creative Cities, World Heritage Cities, Learning Cities, Inclusive and Sustainable Cities, and the Alliance of Megacities for Water and Climate. 

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) was created in 2004 to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development. The 180 cities which currently make up this network work together towards a common objective: placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level. The Creative Cities Network is a privileged partner of UNESCO, not only as a platform for reflection on the role of creativity as a lever for sustainable development but also as a breeding ground of action and innovation, notably for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

The World Heritage Cities Programme aims to assist States Parties in the challenges of protecting and managing their urban heritage. The programme is structured along a two-way process, with 1) the development of a theoretical framework for urban heritage conservation, and 2) the provision of technical assistance to States Parties for the implementation of new approaches and schemes at their World Heritage Cities. 

The UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC) is an international policy-oriented network providing inspiration, know-how and best practice. The Network supports the achievement of all 17 SDGs, in particular SDG 4 and SDG 11. GNLC produced a document on Learning Cities and the SDGs, which is a Guide to Action for mainstreaming lifelong learning as a key driver to achieve the 17 SDGs. 

The document seeks to facilitate the process of transforming global goals into local actions by showing concrete steps, which members of the GNLC have taken to promote green and healthy environments, equity and inclusion as well as decent work and entrepreneurship. 

The International Coalition of Inclusive and Sustainable Cities − ICCAR is an initiative launched by UNESCO in March 2004 to establish a network of cities interested in sharing experiences in order to improve their policies to fight racism, discrimination, xenophobia and exclusion. ICCAR is contributing to SDG 10, 11 and 16. 

The Alliance of Megacities for Water and Climate (MAWaC) aims to provide an international cooperation forum for dialogue on water to help megacities adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change. It will involve all stakeholders in the water sector, national and local governance leaders, civil society representatives, researchers, urban planners, decision makers, utility operators and service providers, providing a forum in which they can learn from each other’s experience, exchange best practices, collaborate with technical, academic and financial institutions, and design and implement individual responses to the challenges of climate change and urban growth. 

3.8 Leveraging interlinkages across SDG goals and targets;

The interlinkages across SDGs goals and targets are well illustrated in how UNESCO is moving forward the 2030 Agenda (https://en.unesco.org/creativity/sites/creativity/files/247785en.pdf). By directly contributing to nine SDGs, UNESCO is contributing to SDG 1, 10 and 17. 

For example, UNESCO and WHO signed a MOU in 2017 to strengthen cooperation to support countries in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The MoU focuses on promoting integrated approaches between the education and health sectors through complementary and/or joint programming efforts supporting national, regional and global initiatives for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Areas of cooperation include health workforce education and training; school health promotion and education staff training; culturally sensitive advocacy and messaging, and role of the media; strengthening collaboration in the United Nation’s inter-agency bodies and mechanisms; research and training in health and life science; addressing intersectoral responses to climate change and disaster risk reduction; and bioethics. 

UNESCO also designed many programmes to address several SDG goals and targets. For example, the Malaysia-UNESCO Cooperation Programme covers projects including education for sustainable development in Pacific Island countries, building the capacity of Indian Ocean Member States in tsunami preparedness and response; reforms of education systems to meet the demands of the 21st century, climate change education for small islands, upscaling water security across Asia and Africa; community based management at World Heritage sites, and strengthening STEM curricula for girls in Africa and the Asia Pacific. In total, 13 SDGs (3,4,5,6,8,9,11,12,13,14,15,16,17) are being addressed through the Programme. 

3.9 Supporting policies and strategies to leave no one behind;

UNESCO in cooperation with its Institute for Statistics (UIS) regularly reports on the implementation of policies and strategies achieving the inclusiveness, the key element of the 2030 Agenda, in order to identify good practices and policies. 

For instance: 

  • the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report 

  • the World Water Development Report 

3.10 Supporting the mobilization of adequate and well-directed financing;

UNSECO’s contribution to the implementations of the 2030 Agenda requires adequate budget, which can be used for strong initiatives that respond, within the framework of the Organization’s mandate, to cross-cutting and contemporary challenges, such as UNESCO’s global priorities Africa and gender equality, as well as reflection on the ethics of artificial intelligence or the “Revive the Spirit of Mosul” initiative. 

Therefore, the key thrusts of 40 C/5 is to continue to increase extra-budgetary resources (by 30%). Between 2017 and 2018, these resources increased from 246 million USD to 314 million USD as a result of an ambitious partnership strategy with key partners, such as the European Union. 

3.11 Reducing disaster risk and building resilience;

UNESCO is engaged in the conceptual shift in thinking away from post-disaster reaction and towards pre-disaster action. Working alone or in collaboration with other UN Agencies and other scientific entities, UNESCO has been a catalyst for international, inter-disciplinary cooperation in many aspects of disaster risk reduction and mitigation. By operating at the interface between natural and social sciences, education, culture and communication, UNESCO plays a vital role in constructing a global culture of resilient communities in a trans- and cross-disciplinary manner. 

UNESCO continues to assist countries to build their capacities in managing disaster and climate risk. It supports their efforts in preventing, mitigating the effect of and coping with disasters. This is achieved by using education and raising awareness in a culturally sensitive manner and focusing efforts on UNESCO designated and affiliated sites (such as World Heritage Sites, educational facilities, Biosphere Reserves and Global Geoparks). UNESCO assists Member States to further strengthens their scientific and technological capacity in identifying, monitoring and dealing with hazards as well as preparing for them via Early Warning Systems. The work of the Organization is being developed and implemented through its different Sectors, Field Offices, Designated and Affiliated Sites, Category I and II Centers, UNESCO Chairs and Networks, according to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and its four Priorities of Action. 

Particularly, UNESCO is mandated to facilitate and promote the use of science and technology to contribute to disaster risk reduction (DRR) and conflict resolution. Reinforcing scientific cooperation is a key element for improving capacity for disaster reduction and the restoration of biological diversity. 

Many conflicts are related to issues of sharing natural resources, in particular fresh water resources. UNESCO’s actions in this area have facilitated non-violent conflict resolution related to sharing of water resources and trans-boundary riparian cases. In post-disaster settings, the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission plays a leading role in the implementation of Early Warning Systems, as demonstrated in the response to the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. 

3.12 Supporting international cooperation and enhancing the global partnership;

UNESCO is the leading UN agency in the implementation of the SDG 4 – Education 2030. The organization support the international cooperation and enhance the global partnership at the global as well as at the regional level, in order to reach SDGs, in particular SDG 4. 

At global level: 

  • UNESCO convenes regularly the SDG-Education 2030 Steering Committee (the last one was held in November 2019). The SDG 4 Steering Committee is a democratic, multi-stakeholder partnership which provides strategic guidance to Member States and the education community, makes recommendations for catalytic action, advocates for financing, and monitors progress through the official source of cross-nationally comparable data on education, UNESCO's Institute for Statistics, and the editorially independent, authoritative and evidence-based Global Educational Monitoring (GEM) Report. The Committee ensures follow-up and review of education related targets within the 2030 Agenda through United Nations processes including the High-level Political Forum. 

  • The Global multilateral partners’ platform, established at a meeting convened by UNESCO in July 2019, commits to maintain strategic dialogue among principals of multilateral partners and align work around a set of priorities to accelerate progress towards SDG 4. See the Paris Outcome Statement. 

  • Civil society organizations (CSOs) play a central role in the implementation and monitoring of the 2030 agenda. The Collective Consultation of NGOs on Education 2030 (CCNGO/Education 2030) is UNESCO’s key mechanism for dialogue, reflection and partnership with NGOs working in the field of education. See their working procedures and their Global Meeting report and final statement of December 2019. 

At the regional level, following regional mechanisms for coordination and partnerships ensure harmonization of efforts, as well as a two- way communication between global and national levels: 

  • Africa - The Pan‐African High‐level Conference on Education (PACE 2018), organized in Nairobi in April 2018, culminated in the Nairobi Declaration and Call for Action on Education: Bridging Continental and Global Education Frameworks for the Africa We Want. Furthermore, UNESCO’s regional bureaus Dakar and Nairobi and the SDG4-Education 2030 Regional Coordination Group for West and Central Africa are paving the way forward for SDG 4 in the region. 

  • Arab States - UNESCO led the establishment of the Arab Regional Support Group for Education 2030 and organizes regional ministerial meetings every two years. 

  • Asia and the Pacific - the UNESCO Bangkok regional bureau leads the work on SDG 4 in the region and coordinates the regional multi-partner group as well as an SDG 4 National Coordinators network. 

  • Europe and North America - the latest Europe and North America consultation under the auspices of UNESCO was held in November 2018 in Strasbourg jointly with the Council of Europe and the European Commission to review progress towards the implementation of key SDG 4 - Education 2030 commitments. The outcome statement reaffirmed commitment towards 1) the right to education for refugees, migrants and asylum seekers; 2) education and learning for democratic citizenship and inclusive social development; 3) improving both domestic financing and international aid with a focus on communities and countries most in need and; 4) monitoring equity and quality in education. 

  • Latin America and the Caribbean - the UNESCO regional bureau for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (OREALC) based in Santiago de Chile convenes and coordinates the Regional Steering Committee on SDG-Education 2030, which brings together countries, regional organizations and civil society organizations. 

In addition to UNESCO’s leading role in international cooperation in the implementation of the SDG 4, the Organization is part of the United Nations Task Team leading the global Technology Facilitation Mechanism. This mechanism supports the Sustainable Development Goals by enhancing North-South, South-South and triangular regional and international cooperation on and access to science, technology and innovation and enhance knowledge sharing on mutually agreed terms.

3.13 Others.

4. The high-level political forum (HLPF) is the central platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. Has your organization participated in or supported the work of the HLPF? If yes, please specify your involvement in the following areas:

4.1 Supporting the intergovernmental body of your organization in contributing to the thematic review of the HLPF;

UNESCO contributes every year to the SG’s reports on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for the HLPF. UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics (UIS) provides data related to UNESCO’s areas of competence for the SDG Progress Report and, at the request of ECOSOC, the five intergovernmental bodies of UNESCO : SDG - Education 2030 Steering Committee, the International Hydrological Programme (IHP), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB), and the World Heritage Commitee all provide reports, which contribute to the thematic reviews of the HLPF. 

4.2 Contributing to policy/background briefs for the HLPF;

UNESCO contributes to a number of policy/background briefs for the HLPF. 

For the 2017 HLPF, which examined SDG 14, UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission contributed to the substantive debates through the Global Ocean Science Report, which assessed for the first time the status and trends in ocean science capacity around the world. A number of policy briefs were prepared on the subject for the 2017 session of the HLPF on SDG 14. As a result of UNESCO’s efforts through its IOC, the International Decade on Ocean Science for Sustainable Development was also proclaimed (2021-2030) by the UN General Assembly. The aim is to gather ocean stakeholders worldwide behind a common framework that will ensure ocean science can fully support countries in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal 14 on the ocean. As mandated by the UN General Assembly, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO will coordinate the Decade’s preparatory process, inviting the global ocean community to plan for the next ten years in ocean science and technology to deliver, together, the ocean we need for the future we want! https://en.unesco.org/ocean-decade. 

For the 2018 HLPF which examines SDG 6 and SDG 11, UNESCO contributed to the SDG 6 – 2018 Synthesis Report on Water and Sanitation in the 2030 Agenda developed by UN-Water. Its production is coordinated by the UN World Water Assessment Programme, hosted by UNESCO (WWAP – UNESCO). http://www.unwater.org/publications/sdg-6-2018-synthesis-report-water-sanitation-2030- agenda-planned-may-2018/. WWAP-UNESCO also coordinates the World Water Assessment Report every year. 

UNESCO has also contributed a number of policy briefs on SDG 11 on sustainable cities and actively contributed to the World Urban Forum. More information on UNESCO’s work is available at https://en.unesco.org/UNESCO-for-Sustainable-Cities. 

UNESCO also produces education policy papers, which also make an important contribution to the discussions on how Education relates to the themes of the HLPF and the SDGs under review: https://en.unesco.org/gem-report/policy-papers. It also prepared the yearly Global Education Monitoring Reports. 

4.3 Helping organize SDG-specific events in the preparatory process;

UNESCO also actively participated in the United Nations hosted Third Annual Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) for the Sustainable Development Goals from 5-6 June 2018. In the context of the Technology Facilitation Mechanism mandated by the 2030 Agenda and Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the forum facilitated interaction between relevant stakeholders that focus on scientific cooperation, innovation and capacity building. 

Particular attention was given to the discussions focusing on clean water and sanitation (SDG 6), terrestrial ecosystems (SDG 15), STI road maps in capacity building, and the potential of local and indigenous knowledge. 

Regarding the issue of water and sanitation (SDG 6), discussion focused on how science innovation and technology can help address water stress challenges. Panelists called for integrated approaches to water management and highlighted the importance of multi- stakeholder partnerships to advance research and data collection on water sources.. 

UNESCO also actively engaged in the discussion on biodiversity, which focused on the status of existing and potential knowledge and technology that can help support SDG 15 and protect ecosystems. Through its Man and Biosphere Programme (MAB), UNESCO aims to ensure a harmonious balance between human activities and the environment, and provide opportunities that put sustainable development into action. 

STI roadmaps, policies, and related capacity building needs to achieve the SDGs were also discussed. UNESCO had also prepared a statement stating the role of GOSPIN (Global Observatory on STI policy instruments), which provides key information on STI governing bodies, legal frameworks, policy instruments and long-term series of indicators for evidence-based policy analysis, design and foresight studies. 

Finally, UNESCO took the floor in the discussion on realizing the full potential of local and indigenous knowledge, and home-grown innovations for the achievement of the SDGs. They highlighted how these knowledge systems, based on distinct cultural complexes, have unique contributions that complement scientific knowledge. UNESCO through its Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (LINKS) programme, works with a wide range of UN bodies, such as the UNFCCC, IPCC and IPBES, providing technical expertise as these environmental and scientific bodies engage with indigenous peoples and knowledge. 

During the Forum, UNESCO also hosted two side events focusing on biodiversity and water, and capacity building. More information is available at http://www.unesco.org/new/en/unesco-liaison-office-in-new-york/about-this-office/single-view/news/unesco_at_the_2018_third_annual_science_technology_and_inno/

UNESCO actively participated in the Ocean Conference, held last year on SDG 14, and organized a number of events, which contributed to the preparatory process for the 2017 HLPF. More information on this is available at https://en.unesco.org/ocean-conference

4.4 Organizing side events or speaking at the HLPF;

UNESCO has participated at the three HLPFs since 2016 and is actively promoting the priorities and the involvement of UNESCO in the work of the HLPF through its areas of competence, namely; education, the sciences, culture, communication and information. UNESCO also organized several side events covering many SDGs in the 2016, 2017 and 2018 and 2019 sessions of the HLPF. 

4.5 Supporting the VNR process.

The SDG-Education 2030 Steering Committee encourages governments to report publicly on progress towards national education policy goals on a regular basis, linking them, to the extent possible, to regional and global commitments. Such reporting can be used as key sources for the education section of their SDG Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs). 

At country level, UNESCO field offices actively supports countries on the VNR process, by working closely with national governments to provide data and information on the implementation of SDGs, as well as to share experiences and provide technical advices 

5. How has your organization cooperated with other UN system organizations to achieve coherence and synergies in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs? In this regard, has your organization launched or intend to launch any joint programmes or projects in collaboration with other UN entities? Are there any results or lessons you would like to highlight that might help improve the design and impact of such efforts? Has your organization participated in any of the following coordination systemwide mechanisms or any other relevant platform - CEB, UNSDG, EC-ESA Plus, regional coordination meetings, UN-Energy, UN-Water, UN-Ocean, IAEG, IATT? Please specify which and indicate any suggestions you may have about improving collaborations within and across these mechanisms/platforms.

UNESCO is actively working with other UN organizations to achieve coherence and synergies in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. 

The SDG-Education 2030 Steering Committee is composed of 38 members representing a majority from Member States, the World Education Forum 2015 convening agencies (UNESCO, UNDP, UNFPA, UNHCR, UN Women, ILO, the World Bank), the Global Partnership for Education, the OECD, regional organizations, teacher organizations, civil society networks, in addition to representatives from the private sector, foundations, youth and student organizations. 

In addition, UNESCO has developed a number of strategic partnerships with other UN and BWIs to further strengthen its joint cooperation with other UN system organizations. For example, UNESCO has recently signed strategic partnerships agreements with the World Bank, WHO, UNV and UNEP outlining joint initiatives to support the implementation of the SDGs, with MoUs with FAO and UNFCCC to be signed shortly. 

UNESCO has also launched a number of joint programmes with other UN entities. For example, UNESCO’s Global Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education, also known as “Better Life, Better Future”, aims to increase learning opportunities for adolescent girls and women and to find solutions to some of the biggest obstacles to their education. In the framework of these partnerships, UNESCO developed a joint programme with UNFPA and UN WOMEN on Empowering Adolescent Girls and Young Women through Education is a partnership between UNESCO, UN Women and UNFPA. It applies a holistic, multi-sectoral approach to empower girls and young women through a quality education. Over an initial period of five years (2016-2021), the goal is to reach adolescent girls (10-19 years) and young women (20-24 years) in countries where challenges to their education remain significant. With the support of 15 million USD from the Republic of Korea through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), the Joint Programme plans to reach some 558,000 direct beneficiaries and 918,000 indirect beneficiaries including in and out of school girls and young women, boys and young men, teachers, policymakers and community members in Mali, Nepal and Tanzania. The Joint Programme seeks to reach additional countries, drawing on the experience, tools and lessons learned from these countries. 

https://en.unesco.org/themes/education-and-gender-equality/unfpa-unwomen-programme 

UNESCO is actively participating in all of the coordination system wide mechanisms: CEB, UNDG, EC-ESA Plus, RCMs, UN-Energy, UN-Water, UN-Ocean, IAEG and IATT. The sharing of information and knowledge across these platforms could be further enhanced and ensuring that the strategic orientations and information from the highest levels, i.e. CEB, permeates to all levels of the Organization is also important. 

6. How has your organization engaged with stakeholder groups, both in supporting implementation at the country, regional and global levels, and within your own organization? If yes, please provide main highlights, including any lessons learned. If your organization has established any multi-stakeholder partnerships to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, please describe them and how their performances are being monitored and reviewed.

UNESCO is engaging stakeholders both in the implementation of its programmes at country, regional and global levels and within the organization. For example, it engaged a number of different stakeholders in the consultation process leading to the development of its progamme and budget (2018-2021), document 40 C/5. Various stakeholders are also included in the co-creation of UNESCO’s programmes at the regional and country level. For example, the UNESCO-China Funds-in-Trust flagship project on Enhancing Teacher Quality in Africa, which focuses on enhancing quality teacher training in Africa through South-South Cooperation in 10 African countries, was developed in close partnership with local stakeholders to identify the specific needs of each target country. While the project defined a set of common objectives, local stakeholders in every one of the ten beneficiary countries were able to set priorities and design strategies to meet national and local needs. In country stakeholders are able to build synergies between the project and similar national or regional initiatives supported by other partners. Increased close collaboration among local partners, international experts and UNESCO field offices in Africa increased networking and the sharing of knowledge and best practices. 

7. Has your organization organized any conferences, forums or events designed to facilitate exchange of experience, peer and mutual learning in connection with the SDGs? If yes, please provide a brief summary, below and include lessons learned and gaps identified based on the outcomes of these events. Please also include any events you want to organize in the coming years.

The SDG-Education 2030 Steering Committee has organized series of global/regional/national conferences or events to ensure more coordinated support for the realization of education targets and commitments. While recognizing that a great deal is being done in all regions to take forward the SDG4 agenda, the SDG-Education 2030 Steering Committee has identified a number of bottlenecks in several policy areas that continue to hamper progress towards global targets and commitments. Some bottlenecks relate to education in the broader development context and include: insufficient attention to gender equality; the closing of civil society space; and the persistence of violence, conflict and situations of emergencies. Other bottlenecks more specific to education include: an inadequate focus on SDG4 targets and commitments; a narrowing of the broad SDG4 agenda with neglect of youth and adult education and skills development, both formal and non-formal; insufficient attention to the conditions and status of teachers; inadequate financing of education; In light of these bottlenecks, the SDG-Education 2030 Steering Committee makes the following recommendations in respect of SDG4 policy and strategy: 

  • Governments are encouraged to address these bottlenecks, as relevant to their national contexts and priorities, and in accordance with national legislation. 

  • While prioritization of SDG4 targets is necessary to reflect national policy context and needs, governments should ensure that the commitment to equal opportunity to effective and quality learning is pursued at all levels and strands of education and training. 

  • Governments, co-convening agencies, regional organizations and civil society networks should strengthen national ownership of the 2030 Framework for Action, the SDG4 targets and commitments and indicative strategies through national and regional education consultations and mainstreaming of the SDG4 targets in their education systems. 

  • Governments are encouraged to strengthen education sector-wide and inter-sectoral coordination, mobilizing the range of ministerial departments involved in the achievement of SDG4 targets and commitments. 

The steering committee also gave recommendations on financing of education, and review, monitoring and reporting at national and cross-national levels. 

8. Is there any other information you would like to share, including annual reports of your organization and any impact assessment or evaluation reports? If yes, please use the space below and attach the document(s). Please also use this space to provide any other information, comments or remarks you deem necessary.

UNESCO provides systematic reports on its programme implementation to its governing bodies, including how it supports countries in implementing the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.The last one, published in 2019, presents UNESCO’s fundamental and specific achievements over the past year and reflects UNESCO’s role as a transformative force in the service of people, acting on the main driving forces of long-term human development. https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000367747?posInSet=2&queryId=3ad068a6-76fd-4803-989a-92b28b7fe705

9. In your view, what should strategic directions look like for the UN system in support of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs in the Decade of Action? What key elements should they include and what major challenges should they address?

The ongoing reform of the UN with three major pillars initiated by the UN Secretary-in an important means of accelerating action on the SDGs and the 2030 AgendaIn particular, the repositioning of the UN Development System should provide country-specific analysis in order to identify specific country needs and to undertake appropriate measures for support. 

The new generation of country teams, centered on a strategic UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework and led by an impartial, independent and empowered UN Resident Coordinator is going to be helpful in the mobilization of necessary resources for the implementation of the SDGs. 

Nevertheless, in the Decade of Action, the whole society should act, including the wider public. Therefore, more action is needed to galvanize all of society to take part and contribute, particularly the youth, the media, the private sector, and other stakeholders. 

10. Please suggest one or two endeavours or initiatives that the UN system organizations could undertake together to support the implementation of the SDGs between now and 2030.

In the spirit of the ongoing repositioning of the UN Development System, UN system organizations should focus on developing joint programmes and joint resource mobilization in the context of implementing the new CCA/UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Frameworks to support governments in accelerating action to achieve the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda at country and regional level. All members of UNCTs, including non-resident agencies, should be involved in identifying how to support countries in ensuring that their national plans are aligned with the SDGs. This includes working with all relevant government ministry(ies) and other stakeholders to ensure buy in and support for the CCA/UNSDCF. This requires UNCTs and the RCs to work closely on joint implementation, monitoring, reporting and evaluations of how they working to deliver on the SDGs through an integrated approach in the context of the CCA/UNSDCF. 

Year of submission: 2020