In September 2023, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, the SDG Academy launched its latest collaboration with UNESCO, the Joint Committee on the OER Recommendation. The announcement came during a session hosted at the SDG Summit convened at UN Headquarters in New York.
The Joint Committee was signed into agreement just prior to the Summit with leadership from SDSN and UNESCO. Signing on behalf of SDSN was Patrick Paul Walsh, VP of Education and Director of the SDG Academy. Tawfik Jelassi, Assistant Director General for Communication and Information, signed on behalf of UNESCO.
The Joint Committee aims to enhance the availability of open educational resources (OERs) for sustainable development. It has become increasingly important to ensure all people have the skills and knowledge needed to achieve the SDGs. Unfortunately, although much of the expertise needed to make progress towards our global goals already exists, it is woefully inaccessible behind paywalls, or difficult to find among the array of unverified information available online. Consequently, high quality resources need to be made available as OERs, and organized in efficient and effective ways for widescale uptake and use.
It is the purpose of the Joint Committee to promote the commitments made in the UNESCO 2019 Recommendation on Open Educational Resources. Unanimously adopted by the UNESCO General Conference in 2019, the Recommendation aims to support the development and strengthening of inclusive knowledge societies. To put commitments into action, the Joint Committee has engaged a work plan to establish an innovative platform and repository of OERs for the SDGs.
This initiative follows on issues highlighted during the UN Transforming Education Summit, hosted in 2022. During a session chaired by SDSN, and co-hosted by the Permanent Missions of Ireland and Ghana, partners emphasized the critical value of knowledge sharing for purposes of equity and inclusion. Partners, including UNESCO, UN Academic Impact, the International Association of Universities, and more advocated for comprehensive support to mainstream OERs to enhance global development.
The SDG Academy is grateful for the partnership with UNESCO to enhance the dissemination and use of OERs. Taking steps to advance knowledge sharing in fair and equitable ways is an essential foundation for a global movement to achieve the SDGs. The Joint Committee will initiate its work plan in 2023 and welcomes contributions from new partners. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.