Regional Frameworks for Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)

Around the world, countries and international governmental organisations have designed regional education plans to articulate the SDG 4 Targets. Some of the regional education plans were designed prior to the adoption of the SDGs, and regional organisations had generated instruments to articulate their education plans to take into account the SDG 4 Targets. For others, the consideration of the SDG 4 Targets is included in their plan as they are developing them.

During the 3rd SDG-Education 2030 Steering Committee Meeting in 2017 (Meeting Report), members evaluated the role of regional organisations in the field of education. The conclusions of the session showed that almost all regions of the world have entities, which allow countries to share information about education and learn from each other (GEMR, 2017).

To evaluate where each of the regions are in the process of considering and including SDG 4 Targets in their regional education plans, a mapping of regional and sub-regional strategies, targets and frameworks was conducted. This was achieved by a review of all available regional plans or reports, with a summary of their characteristics and the articulation with SDG 4 Targets.

Regional Education Strategies and Monitoring and Information Frameworks

Several regional and sub-regional organisations have for mandate to generate information and promote consensus among countries in the field of education based on common goals. These organisations have different levels of organisation and participation. In some agencies, members are composed of ministries of education for each country members of the organization. In other cases, the organisations have representatives of the civil society or officials, who are appointed by each country or government with a membership. These entities can be part of a supra-regional organisation. In general, the members of these organisations have some common linking features such as a geographic territory (European Union, SEAMEO), a language (CONFEMEN), cultural or historical characteristic (OEI, CARICOM).

The regional organizations included in the review process are:

Pacific Regional Education Framework (PacREF)

African Union Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Commonwealth South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation
Caribbean Community
European Union Organizacion de los Estados Iberoamericanos South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation
Southeast Asia Ministers of Education Organization Sistema de la Integracion Centroamericano Economic Commission for Latin America and the Carribbean

These different organisations reached agreements on educational targets in common for the medium- and long-term. These transnational commitments require national and regional coordination and monitoring mechanisms to follow their progress towards the achievement of their goals and address any uprising issues. Meanwhile, organisations began to articulate, if not already done, their regional objectives to take into account the SDG 4 Targets and the Education 2030 Agenda.

Regional Organisations and Plans and Frameworks

SDG 4 Targets and the GOALS established in Each Regional Plan or Regional Report

Regional organisations have development plans or frameworks. All have the objective of improving the quality of life of their population. Of 12 plans and reports analyzed, most have objectives similar to those of SDG 4:

  • 10 include an area of education
    • 7 are regional plans that contain objectives of education

Mapping of Regional Education Plans to SDG 4 Targets

SDG 4 Targets Regional and sub-Regional Plan
Organizations 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.a 4.b 4.c
Africa Union
Central American
Pacific Community
Pacific Island Forum
  • Several plans and reports are articulated around SDG 4 Targets, and one report is articulated with the all SDG 4 Thematic Indicators (SEAMEO baseline).
  • For the Africa Union, the Commonwealth, CEPAL, SEAMEO, and EU, there is an effort to take into consideration some SDG 4 Indicators and regional indicators (WHICH ARE?).
  • Several regional organisations aim to align their regional plan with SDG 4 (CEPAL, CARICOM, Pacific Community, EU).
    • None of the regional organisations with available national data reports linked OR MADE REFERENCE to the SDG 4 Indicators.
    • Many organizations are developing a monitoring framework, but few are reporting on the implementation of their education strategies.

Priority Concepts in Regional Education Plans

The SDG 4 Thematic Indicators are grouped into 11 concepts:

  • Completion
  • Environment
  • Equity
  • Knowledge
  • Learning or readiness to learn
  • Participation
  • Policies
  • Provision
  • Resources
  • Scholarships
  • Skills and teachers (motivation, qualification and training)[1].

[1] UIS (2018): The Investment Case for SDG 4 Data. Concept Note. Technical Cooperation Group on SDG4- Education 2030.

Participation, learning or readiness to learn, and completion are the most recurrent concepts in the objectives of the regional education plans of the 12 regional organizations considered in this review; the plans have, as priorities, to improve the enrolment rates in early childhood education and secondary education, and increase the readiness to learn (learning) of students. Finally, the completion of compulsory education level is a common goal for all member countries of all organizations, with the exception of CARICOM (the Caribbean Community) plan, whose main priority is to improve the skills of its youth and adults. The equity of the offer of education in a transverse axis in the plans.

The following table shows the priorities of each plan.


Thematic indicators frequently included in regional plans

Many of the regional frameworks included at least 16 SDG 4 Thematic Indicators.

  • SDG 4 Global Indicators 4.1.1 (children and young people with minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics) and 4.6.1 (youth achieving a fixed level of proficiency in functional literacy and numeracy skills) are included in all regional plans or frameworks. BUT THESE ARE NOT THEMATIC!

Note: The table includes only the indicators that are in at least 4 plans or reports.