Draft transcript of the Deputy Secretary-General Amina J Mohammed -- Video message for the opening of the SDG-Education 2030 Steering Committee, UNESCO, Paris, 11 March 2019
Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished members of the SDG-Education 2030 Steering Committee, 2019 is a pivotal year for the international community in our efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are our pathway to a more just, peaceful and sustainable world. We are seeing them take root in national policies, regional strategies, in business operations, institutions of higher education and, crucially, among communities and citizens across the world. At the same time we know we must accelerate our efforts. Education is at the heart of this work – a catalytic force across all the SDGs. This year began with the observance of the first UN International Day of Education. This July, SDG4 will be reviewed at the High-Level Political Forum, leading up to the SDG Summit in September. This makes your meeting today -- the sixth meeting of this Committee -- particularly well placed to make strategic inputs. Let me stress the importance of this Committee for guiding the implementation of SDG4 and all the connections to all the other 16 goals. This involves prioritizing, collaborating and advocating around a shared vision. It means avoiding fragmentation and supporting collective action and capacity building. The Global Education Meeting last year in Brussels agreed on priority areas for the next four years to unlock progress. You can build on this by using this meeting to agree on the most critical policy messages to carry forward to the High-Level Political Forum and beyond. We are all aware how urgent it is to prioritize education as a public good, to address the global learning deficit and to ring the alarm on the social and economic consequences of exclusion from education. Educational inequalities are fueling deep social divides. Our imperative is clear: to mobilize the political will, policies, capacity and financing that will make progress possible. Each member of this Committee has a voice and a role. I urge you to keep the pressure on political leaders to show, in all the upcoming forums, that they are serious about meeting this challenge. I am strongly committed to defending education as a human right and public responsibility, and as a force for human dignity and empowerment. Throughout my life, I have seen the power of education. I have witnessed how education -- when accessible to all and sharply focused on improving learning and skills -- can build dynamic economies and help to sustain peace, prosperity and stability. I have also seen it instill in individuals, no matter what their circumstances, a strong sense of self as well as confidence about their place in the world and future prospects. Thank you for your engagement. I look forward to continuing this critically important work and wish you a productive meeting. Thank you.