New York, September 24 (QNA) - Education Above All (EAA) Foundation, a leading global education foundation, and Silatech, an international development organisation, hosted four major side events to accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), at the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.
The two organizations, founded by HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, member of the UN Sustainable Development Goals Advocates Group, used these high-level events to mobilize the international community towards achieving the SDGs.
The events brought together over 400 leaders, experts, youth, and academics, and highlighted the importance of funding education, remote work, climate change education, and AI, in providing marginalised and vulnerable communities around the world with opportunities to improve their lives.
Together, these events have made significant contributions to advancing several SDGs in developing countries, including SDG 4 (Quality Education), SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure), and SDG 13 (Climate Action).
The events included "The Precarious Role of AI in the Effort to Provide Inclusive, Equitable Access to Higher Education for the Most Marginalised", hosted by EAA Foundation's Al Fakhoora program, Qatar Fund for Development, and the International Institute of Higher Education.
Notable speakers included the University of the Andes (Colombia), Rutgers University and Schmidt Futures, and Jeffrey D. Sachs from the Center for Sustainable Development, Canada.
Professor Sachs emphasised that the biggest hurdle to universal education was a lack of funding, and stated: "Education is the paramount investment for society. Listen to HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser: Education Above All.' Mean it." EAA Foundation's Reach Out To Asia (ROTA) Program and Silatech hosted "Investing in climate change and education for a greener future" on Sep. 16. Speakers included Assistant Undersecretary for Environmental Affairs, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Qatar, Ahmed Mohammed Al Sada; Director, Mohammed VI Foundation for Environment Protection Kingdom of Morocco, Ayman Cherkaaui, Executive Director, BRAC, Asif Saleh; Global Director, SDSN Youth, Birihgton Kaoma; Assistant Director-General for Education UNESCO, Setafnia Giannini; Co-founder and CEO, Goodwall, Taha Bawa; CEO, Generation Unlimited, UNICEF, Kevin Frey, and Program Manager, Youth Economic Opportunities, Vicky Aridi.
According to UNICEF's Frey: "Climate education needs to culminate in young people taking climate action." He stressed that knowledge should be a catalyst for tangible, youth-driven initiatives in the fight against climate change.
This was supported by Asif Saleh who commented, "In every young leader lies the potential to drive change." Outcomes and recommendations from this session included: transparent financing for climate change education; direct funding for local youth groups and green entrepreneurs (ecopreneurs); reduction of costs for technological tools, and public-private-non government-youth partnerships; engaging youth as key stakeholders in decision and policy making related to climate change education; and identifying innovative solutions that recognise local and indigenous knowledge.
Silatech in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Permanent Mission of Qatar to the United Nations hosted on Sep. 17 "Unlocking Potential: The Power of Remote Work in Economically Empowering Vulnerable Youth".
This High Level Panel advocated for the recognition and mainstreaming of remote work and freelancing as decent work and career innovations. Keynote Speakers included Special Representative of the ILO to the UN, Cynthia Samuel-Olonjuwon, Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development Director General, Hiba Ahmed, BRAC Executive Director Asif Saleh, Microsoft, Global UN, and International Development Lead, Alexandre Pinho and UNICEF Generation Unlimited Brazil beneficiary Winner Happy de Assis Cajueiro.
The session recommended that remote work be recognised and mainstreamed, and that vulnerable communities should have support to access remote work opportunities, also calling on the private sector to invest in infrastructure and technology to support remote work and put in place online security safeguards.
EAA Foundation hosted "Elevating Education as a Win-Win for the SDGs", at the SDG Pavilion on Sep. 19, 2023. EAA Foundation's CEO Fahad Al Sulaiti unpacked efforts by stakeholders to unlock the potential of young people to thrive in the future world of work and bridge the digital divide using tools to improve learning and increase capacities to navigate the future.
Participants included Prime Minister of Sierra Leone David Sengeh, who is Former Minister of Education, SDG4 High-Level Steering & Transforming Education Summit Advisory Committee Co-Chair; Global Director, Education and Adolescent Development, UNICEF, Robert Jenkins; Global Director for Education, World Bank, Dr. Luis Benveniste, and Director General, ISFD, Dr. Hiba Ahmed; Director of Sustainable Finance Hub, UNDP, Mr. Marcos Neto, and Director of the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report, Manos Antoninis, among others.
Roundtable discussants acknowledged EAA Foundation's contribution and importance and ongoing work supporting education in the developing world. The discussions emphasised the need for innovative solutions in education financing, including through community involvement, private sector partnerships, and exploring new funding sources.
Each event included clear outcomes that the partners will take forward. Follow-up meetings will be held at the WISE Summit, a biennial event fostering innovation in education, to be held in Doha, Qatar, on Nov. 28-29 2023. (QNA)