When we were offered the opportunity to partner with the EdCan Network on this special issue dedicated to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we did not hesitate for a moment. When we look to translate our high ideals into concrete action, teachers are natural and key allies.
The Canadian Commission for UNESCO is the link between Canadians and the essential work of UNESCO – the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Through our members, networks, and partners, many of whom are directly linked to the education community, we play an active role in promoting UNESCO’s values, priorities, and programs in Canada. We also help to ensure that the voice of civil society is heard internationally, so that our good ideas and practices also benefit the rest of the world.
While it is states like Canada that are ultimately responsible for implementing the United Nations’ ambitious Agenda 2030, all of us need to commit to sustainable development. Ensuring that our economy and our society develop in a more sustainable and equitable way, while respecting the environment and the limited capacities of our planet, requires thinking globally and acting locally. And this is the extraordinary strength of the networks gradually built up by UNESCO over the decades: they encourage innovation and new forms of intellectual and moral cooperation among peoples, including the advancement of quality education that leaves no one behind, as called for in SDG 4.
Mobilizing the education sector, especially teachers, is critical to advancing the entire set of SDGs. This sector has the unmatched potential to raise awareness and develop the critical thinking skills of young people in relation to the greatest challenges facing our humanity, including the climate crisis. Indeed, the world of education can serve as a powerful lever for changing behaviours and lifestyle habits. The strength of schools also lies in their capacity to act in a very holistic manner, and even extend their reach beyond staff and students.
It is our wish that this issue will inspire you to learn more about SDGs and how you can help our world achieve them. Present and future generations share an interest in – and the right to – successful implementation of the goals.
Thank you in advance for your commitment, and I hope you enjoy reading these pages.
Secretary-General, Canadian Commission for UNESCO
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