If we are to achieve the vision of Agenda 2030, transformation is necessary. This transformation starts with education and learning, panelists of a HLPF 2022 side event organized by Bridge 47 agreed.

The Transformative Learning: How SDG Target 4.7 can accelerate progress towards Agenda 2030 event looked for ways to strengthen the integration of SDG Target 4.7 in relevant policies, so as to accelerate progress towards 2030. This participatory session, co-organized by Finland, Nigeria, UNESCO, Fingo, and Bridge 47, was held on July 5, 2022, at the UN Headquarters in New York.

"All countries share the same challenge: how do we ensure that everyone in society acquires the skills for a sustainable future? Education, training, research, and innovation are critical in the comprehensive sustainability transition and for the development of inclusive and resilient societies. This is why SDG 4.7 must guide our work,” H.E. Ms Li Andersson, Minister of Education, Finland, stated in her opening remarks.

Graphic recording with quotes from HE Ms Li Andersson

SDG Target 4.7 emphasizes that all learners need to acquire knowledge and skills to promote sustainable development. By focusing our collective efforts on this target, we can accelerate progress towards the achievement of Agenda 2030.

Mr Leonardo Garnier, Special Advisor to the Transforming Education Summit is not satisfied with the progress made on achieving SDG 4: “The problem is we are badly off track in SDG 4. We were off track even before the pandemic. We could take advantage of this dramatic situation to deeply transform education.”

To achieve transformation in our societies, everyone needs to learn how to promote sustainable development: learning needs to happen everywhere and throughout life. Participants stressed the need to work across a wide range of different stakeholders.

"Education itself needs to be transformative. It calls for a radical change, a paradigm shift in how, and what students learn to navigate the world, which is increasingly fragile and inter-connected. We need to work with a wide range of stakeholders, beyond the education sector to create true momentum for transformation” said Assistant Director-General Stefania Giannini from UNESCO.

Graphic recording with quotes from Ms Stefania Giannini

“Education should be transformed into a both passionate and rigorous process of individual and collective self-discovery and self-development," added Mr Garnier.

Ms Li Andersson responded: "We need transformative learning for everybody – regardless of social background, age or profession. As humanity, we must learn new things, but also unlearn things. All parts of society need to be harnessed for this transition."

Moderator Rilli Lappalainen, Founder of Bridge 47 and Director of Sustainable Development at Fingo, concluded the event: “We are all teachers of our own lives, in our circumstances, in our environments. We can all take both roles, as teachers and learners, and that is the way that we can make change happen. Every single person on this planet is needed in this movement.”

The recording of the event is available here.

Graphic recording with quotes from event