Setting Benchmarks to Achieve SDG 4 Targets

Since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Education 2030 Framework for Action called on countries to establish “appropriate intermediate benchmarks (e.g. for 2020 and 2025)” for the SDG indicators, seeing them as “indispensable for addressing the accountability deficit associated with longer-term targets” (§28). However, a majority of countries has not yet translated the global targets into specific ones to serve as references to report their progress in a regular manner.

To fill this gap and make countries accountable vis-a-vis the agreed global targets of the 2030 Agenda in education, seven global indicators were endorsed to benchmark the global framework against regional ones at the 6th meeting of the Technical Cooperation Group on SDG 4 (TCG) in 2019 in Yerevan, Armenia.


Access dashboards with summary of progress and dashboards for regions and countries

The extraordinary session Global Education Meeting in October 2020 reminded countries of their commitment to the Declaration, which called on “UNESCO and its partners, together with the SDG-Education 2030 Steering Committee, to … accelerate the progress and propose relevant and realistic benchmarks of key SDG 4 indicators for subsequent monitoring” (§10).

The effectiveness of the process to set, monitor, and act on benchmarks rests on two factors:


In response, countries and international governmental organisations have designed regional education plans to articulate the SDG 4 Targets. 

The main objective of benchmarks is to draw attention to data gaps and introduce a coordinated mechanism to flag countries that may be falling behind in terms of certain key indicators.

Regional processes

Each region has its own framework to set, monitor and report on the benchmarks to achieve the SDG 4: