On September 25, 2015, the United Nations adopted a comprehensive agenda to “end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all” by 2030. The agenda comprises 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs), including SDG 4:  Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning for all. To catalyze action and align efforts to achieve SDG 4, a group of global conveners have formed a partnership to launch the Cross-Convening Strategy. At its core, the strategy will connect networks and mobilize resources to scale solutions for education. It will engage leaders to identify solutions and articulate recommendations for implementation through a series of strategic working sessions hosted at global conferences throughout 2017-2018. Once refined, the Cross-Convening Strategy could be applied to additional SDG’s in the future.

Launch of the Cross-Convening Strategy

On October 17, 2017, the Cross-Convening Strategy was launched at Opportunity Collaboration in Ixtapa, Mexico with a group of 30 leaders and practitioners.  The discussion looked at “Opportunities to Deepen and Scale Impact to Achieve SDG 4” and “Gaps in the Global Conversation on SDG 4.” It concluded with participants sharing resources to support each other’s work. The purpose of the discussion was not intended to create an exhaustive list of opportunities, gaps, and resources.  Rather, it was designed to leverage the unique, multi-disciplinary perspective of Opportunity Collaboration delegates to identify areas for future examination.

Key Takeaways

Takeaway 1: Opportunities

As the global community considers options for how to best achieve SDG 4, there are many opportunities to deepen and scale impact, including:

  • Creating a strong process for collaboration across actors (to serve as a pathway for accelerating outcomes);
  • Investing in program evaluation (to confirm only effective approaches are funded);
  • Integrating diversity, inclusivity, and equity lenses into programs to address systemic breakdowns;
  • Capacity building for parents and educators;
  • Expanding the scope and diversity of curricula used (e.g, integrating mindfulness-based training, lifelong learning approaches, and non-Western approaches); and
  • Leveraging technology to increase access to education resources, tools, and programs.

Takeaway 2: Gaps

Multiple stakeholder voices are missing from the global conversation on SDG 4 including those of: children – and especially children with disabilities; indigenous communities; the private sector; universities; and more.  In addition, current discussions do not effectively address: need for cross-sector solutions and diverse frameworks; funding and affordability challenges; gaps in educator training; and infrastructure issues (e.g., lack of clean water), among other things.

Next Steps

The takeaways from this session will help inform the design, structure, and focus of future Cross-Convening Strategy conversations. Over the next few months Conveners.org will be recruiting additional convening partners, strategy advisors, media partners, and funding partners.