UNESCO and Sustainable Development Goals


Global initiative launched to counter the destruction and trafficking of cultural property by terrorist and organized crime groups

02 October 2015

UNESCO’s Role in UN’s Action to Counter and Prevent Violent Extremism

GCED endorsed as a target of the education SDG at the United Nations Summit

The General Assembly endorsed global citizenship education (GCED) as target 4.7 of the education goal in the outcome document “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” adopted by consensus at the United Nations Summit held at UN Headquarters in New York from 25 to 27 September 2015. In this regard, UNESCO has been actively engaged in policy dialogue in relation to post-2015 to assist Member States and education stakeholders in defining the targets and indicators for the education goal.

Both the Incheon Declaration adopted at the World Education Forum in May 2015 and the Muscat Agreement adopted in May 2014 identified GCED and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) as one of the targets of the education goal in the post-2015 development agenda. This proposal was eventually adopted in the Open Working Group Proposal on Sustainable Development Goals in target 4.7.

The proposal to include GCED and ESD in the post-2015 development agenda generated the need for clearly defined indicators to enable monitoring progress at the global, regional and national levels. UNESCO established the Experts Advisory Group (EAG) and its sub-group (the Measurement Ad-Hoc Team (MAT), members of which met in Paris in June 2014 and agreed on the core conceptual dimensions of GCED and key learning outcomes that can also serve as priorities for measurement. In parallel to these efforts, UNESCO commissioned an expert institution, the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) to carry out research and propose a list of indicators. Based on the IEA recommendations and in further consultation with key stakeholders, UNESCO developed a list of potential indicators, with the expectation that these will inform the global efforts to identify indicators for Target4.7 of the education SDG.

UNESCO will continue to provide assistance to Member States and education stakeholders in their effort to reach the Target on GCED.

Target 4.7 as adopted in the outcome document of the United Nations Summit:

  • Target 4.7: By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development; including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and nonviolence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.

Heads of State, Government leaders, UN High Level Representatives and civil society  met in September 2015, at the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, and adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These represent a universal, ambitious, sustainable development agenda, an agenda “of the people, by the people and for the people,” crafted with UNESCO’s active involvement.

UNESCO will contribute to the implementation of the SDGs trhough its work on:



UNESCO actively helped to frame the Education 2030 agenda which is encapsulated in SDG 4. The Incheon Declaration, adopted at the World Education Forum in Korea in May 2015, entrusted UNESCO to lead and coordinate Education 2030 through guidance and technical support within the overall SDG agenda.  Read more


Natural Sciences

The new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development represents a significant step forward in the recognition of the contribution of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) to sustainable development. Read more


Social and Human Sciences

UNESCO’s Social and Human Sciences Programme aims to firmly entrench universal values and principles, such as global solidarity, inclusion, anti-discrimination, gender equality and accountability, in the implementation of the SDGs. Read more



Placing culture at the heart of development policies constitutes an essential investment in the world’s future and a pre-condition to successful globalization processes that take into account the principle of cultural diversity. Read more


Communication and Information

UNESCO advocates the recognition of the vital role that freedom of expression and access to information and knowledge play in sustainable societies. Read more