Published on November 27, 2023

Transforming Education and Skills

Securing equitable access to quality and relevant education and lifelong learning for all is central to achieving progress across the SDGs. Today, however, progress towards the education-related targets of the 2030 Agenda is significantly off track; with the world going through profound and existential changes, education, as we know it, is not fit for purpose. The twin crises in education – one of equity and access and one of quality and relevance – compounded by a lack of adequate financing, are having dramatic consequences for learners worldwide, especially the most vulnerable. In the follow-up to the Transforming Education Summit (TES) held in September 2022 to tackle this crisis, every effort is being made to promote action on the commitments. To support actions against these commitments, and in response to country demand and gaps in the overall education funding landscape, the Fund aims to support TES follow-up actions in five key areas: education system transformation; digital learning and education solutions; school-to-futurework transition; greening education; and financing education.

"Let’s move forward together, so that everyone can learn, thrive and dream throughout their lives. Let’s make sure today’s learners and future generations can access the education they need, to create a more sustainable, inclusive, just and peaceful world for all." - António Guterres, UN Secretary-General Remarks from the Transforming Education Summit, 2022



The completion rate for primary education in Mali has declined between 2017 (48%) and 2020 (43%). The country also has a gender gap between the completion rate for boys (37%) which is higher than girls (33%). School wastage, dropping out, early marriage, rural exodus and insecurity are among the explanatory reasons of the decline. The percentage of repeaters increased from 15% (2017) to 18% (2020). The Education sector policy document set a goal to reduce the repeating rate to 5% by 2030 for the first six years of primary education.

The Joint SDG Fund facilitated the Government to produce a budget brief on the education sector needs, especially in light of the school closures due to political insecurities. Public expenditure reviews on the education section in partnership with the World Bank aligned with the implementation of Mali’s Integrated National Financing Framework. The assessments and reviews are anticipated to enhance advocacy and facilitate securing of additional budget allocation for the education sector to meet the SDGs.



Under the Fund’s catalytic investment portfolio, the UN is supporting the Indonesian government with a series of national and municipal SDG bond issuances. The first sovereign SDG bond issuance raised US$584 million from the global capital market in 2021. The Government has used the proceeds to provide free routine vaccines to 30 million children and scholarships to over 11 million low-income students aged 6 to 21. The Government also supported the installation of internet infrastructure expanding access to wireless services in 6 rural provinces increasing the potential for digital access and education. Indonesia issued a second sovereign SDG bond for US$210 million in local markets in 2022, with a third issuance planned in 2023.



In Brazil, the Government is scaling up the Happy Child Programme, an existing social protection scheme reaching families and caregivers, by now including home visits and additional support to ensure enhanced child cognitive, emotional, and social development. An example of innovative integrated policy development, the UN supported the investment case for early childhood development as one of the best ways to boost shared prosperity, expand equitable opportunity, end extreme poverty and accelerate SDG targets. The collation of scientific data and analysis for decision-makers enabled this initiative to be codified into state policy and legislation. During the pandemic, families were faced with new challenges. The Ministry of Citizenship, with support from UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, UNESCO and UN Women developed a multi-media campaign informing and empowering parents and caretakers on the importance of the early childhood education, “Love, Play and Care – the ABC for the Early Childhood”. Every week media professionals received videos, podcasts, and informational brochures focused on family emotional health and parental care; childhood anxiety; maternal depression; domestic violence; and social rights for children and pregnant women. The programme provided support to thousands of pregnant women and children up to six years in almost 3,000 Brazilian municipalities reaching one million beneficiaries in two years.



The Joint SDG Fund's joint programmes are under the prestige leadership of the Resident Coordinator Office and implementing United Nations Agencies. With sincere appreciation for the contributions from the European Union and Governments of Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and our private sector funding partners, for a transformative movement towards achieving the SDGs by 2030.