Ahead of EU Green Week, the Bridge 47 network, a vibrant coalition of individuals and organisations from across continents, is launching a series of policy papers that emphasize the EU’s need to prioritise Target 4.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in their policy responses to the climate emergency and other global crises.
SDG 4 focuses on quality education and within that Target 4.7 focuses on the kind of transformative education needed to achieve sustainable development and equip individuals with skills to deal with times of uncertainty such as the current COVID-19 crisis. The Bridge 47 network aims to facilitate collaboration between members on transformative education at a global level.
The ‘Envision 4.7 Policy Papers’ outline how the Commission’s six political priorities –
Rilli Lappalainen, Director of Sustainable Development for Fingo and Chair and Founder of Bridge 47 said, “To achieve the transformative vision of Agenda 2030, we need to change the way we think and act. This change requires the prioritisation of SDG 4.7, which outlines the need for transformative education and demonstrates how education can help us achieve all the SDGs. After the success of last year’s Envision 4.7 event, the Bridge 47 Network are both delighted to release the Envision 4.7 Policy Papers, which offer guidance on the importance and necessary inclusion of SDG 4.7 in the Commission’s policy priorities.”
These policy papers build on the momentum of Bridge 47’s Envision 4.7 event held in Helsinki in November 2019, which brought together 200 education practitioners, academics, government representatives, civil servants and civil society organisations from around the world to create the Envision 4.7 Roadmap, a collaborative policy roadmap for the implementation of SDG Target 4.7 in Europe.
Brikena Xhomaqi, Director of the Lifelong Learning Platform (LLLP), co-chair of the EESC civil society liaison group and part of the Envision 4.7 Roadmap drafting committee, added, “The Envision 4.7 conference brought together different sectors in a European context. There were people from local, regional and national organisations, some working in education, others not. The Lifelong Learning Platform took part as we believe learning is a lifelong experience, which is meant to ensure equity, social cohesion and active citizenship. The co-creation process of writing the Envision 4.7 Roadmap demonstrated why cross-sectorial collaboration is key, bringing diverse perspectives together for a common cause.”
Continuing with the same spirit of collaboration, a policy working group was established to take the work of Envision 4.7. forward, including network members such as LLLP and SOLIDAR. This resulted in the Envision 4.7 Policy Papers.
Latvian MEP Dace Melbarde, an attendee at Envision 4.7 and member of the European Conservatives & Reformists Group, welcomes the launch of the policy papers at a time of great uncertainty for many but a crucial moment for the EU in terms of not losing focus or momentum on Europe’s response to the climate crisis ahead of EU Green Week 2020.
Melbarde, a Vice-Chair of the Committee on Culture and Education (CULT), said, “Global citizenship education is paramount to help cope when a crisis is felt. We need transformative education more than ever to help tackle the issues we face during the current Covid-19 pandemic and the existential threat posed by climate change and environmental degradation. This should be reflected in the delivery of the EU political priorities for 2019-2024.”
It could be argued that the difficulties and inequalities amplified by the Covid-19 pandemic are only likely to increase as the destabilising effects of climate change are felt across Europe and beyond. The Bridge 47 network believe that individuals of all ages need to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to be able to think critically about current structures, connect their actions with their impacts and engage positively with the world around them as active global citizens.
Along with the policy papers, a series of animations have recently been released showcasing why SDG Target 4.7 and transformative education should be recognised by the EU as a vital mechanism for achieving positive change in response to global challenges, including the climate emergency. The EU priorities for 2019-2024 offer an opportunity for the European Union to commit to monitor the ability of education, in its various forms, to engage with global issues and challenges.