Discorso pronunciato dall’Ambasciatore Stefano Stefanile, Vice Rappresentante Permanente dell’Italia presso le Nazioni Unite, al Group of Friends for Education and Lifelong Learning Briefing su Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). —
First of all, let me say that we appreciate this briefing very much, the fact that it is addressed to UN membership in New York. It is important that we keep the discussion on education alive and ongoing also here while of course recognizing the gravitational and driving role of UNESCO. In this respect, I think the function of this New York based Group of Friends on Education, which Italy is pleased to be part of, is particularly valuable.
I also want to thank all the briefers, Assistant Director General Giannini and all the other briefers. I think they did an excellent job in making it very clear that education has a central role in all human activities. Education is not only a human right but a fundamental enabler in all other sectors and we tend to say this, sometimes, about every of the 17 SDGs but in the case of SDG 4 I think this is particularly true. As Professor Giannini said, education is an all over vision of society that has profound impact and implications on all aspects of our lives.
The pandemic has emblematically confirmed this central importance of education. Without education, and in this case without scientific and highly sophisticated education, we would not be in a situation now where the vaccines have been developed and produced so quickly. Without education we wouldn’t have been able to react to the pandemic.
Education will be also key in devising a greener, more inclusive and more sustainable recovery from the pandemic. When we speak of sustainable recovery, the connection with climate action is immediate and I want to make a specific reference to that also having in mind Italy’s role in partnership with UK for COP26 that has been mentioned on several occasions during the presentations.
It is clear that education is important not only in terms of knowledge and skills acquisition but also in terms of full awareness of the existential threats of our times.
Target 7 of SDG 4 clearly states that education for sustainable development is a key tool to invest in young people’s awareness and commitment. This is exactly what we are trying to do for COP26. We have been particularly engaged in involving youth also through a series of webinars and discussions on climate change.
In terms of our national strategy, we adopted last year a national strategy for global citizenship education. This is why we fully support the importance of investing more in education. We are a long-standing supporter of the Global Partnership on Education and we look forward to the next replenishment conference in July. And we certainly see the value of the Conference in Berlin in May and the importance of this roadmap that has been outlined with the five priority action areas. We fully believe this is essential in order to make a further push for the achievement of SDG 4 by 2030.
Thank you very much.