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Mission 4.7 to be launched at the Vatican Youth Symposium

Monday, December 14th, 2020 - Mission 4.7 will be launched by patrons Ban Ki-moon and Audrey Azoulay on December 16th at 8am EST on the first day of the seventh annual Vatican Youth Symposium. The symposium will be hosted virtually by SDSN Youth and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences under the theme, “New Encounters on Humanity's Path Forward: Youth, Education, Nature, and Culture”.

The annual symposium brings together leaders from civil society, faith communities, business, academia, government, and the United Nations to discuss and promote best practices and programs for advancing sustainable development and human rights. This year, the symposium will host the launch of Mission 4.7, a new global initiative co-founded by Global Schools and the SDG Academy, flagship programs of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), in partnership with UNESCO, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, and the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University.

Mission 4.7 brings together leaders from government, academia, civil society, and business to accelerate the implementation of Education for Sustainable Development around the world and highlight the critical importance of education in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

SDG Target 4.7 calls on all governments to ensure all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, through Education for Sustainable Development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of peace and non-violence, global citizenship, and appreciation of cultural diversity. Mission 4.7 recognizes that in order to achieve the SDGs, it is crucial for people to acquire this knowledge, values, and skills, enabling communities to better respond to the external challenges while promoting more equitable, inclusive, and resilient societies.

Mission 4.7 will build on and draw upon UNESCO’s global leadership in Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship Education, as mandated by its member states and the UN General Assembly, as well as on its responsibility for the monitoring of Target 4.7. The initiative will ensure alignment with UNESCO’s global frameworks and conceptualizations, and complement existing programs already underway in this context.

Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, and Ban Ki-moon, the 8th UN Secretary-General, will serve as co-patrons of Mission 4.7. The initiative will be co-chaired by Professor Jeffrey Sachs, President of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network; Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah, Chairman of the Sunway Group; Ms. Stefania Giannini, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Education; and Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences, representing Pope Francis.

Visit to watch the livestream of the launch event and learn more about the initiative.

UNESCO prioritizes Target 4.7 as a reminder that education is not only a Goal in itself; it is also a means to achieve all the other SDGs – an enabler of change. It is my honour to be a patron of Mission 4.7 and launch this initiative, which will support and enrich UNESCO’s work on this vital target, through education for sustainable development and global citizenship. - Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General

Together we must seize this moment to push this imperative initiative forward. Let us work together to educate humanity about sustainable development and global citizenship. With the necessary knowledge, skills, and empathy for others, we can create a brighter future for us all, leaving no one behind. - Ban Ki-moon, 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations

We live in an interconnected world facing common global threats. Education should inspire students to act for positive change by providing them with the knowledge, values and skills to create a more sustainable, fair and peaceful future. This is what Mission 4.7 will help to advance. - Stefania Giannini, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education

Education for Sustainable Development and for global citizenship will empower today’s young people to become knowledgeable, effective and compassionate leaders of the future. The UN member states were wise to include SDG Target 4.7 as a key enabler of the SDGs. I’m very proud and excited that we are launching Mission 4.7 to help achieve this vital objective. - Jeffrey D. Sachs, President, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network

Global Schools is a proud co-founder and partner of Mission 4.7. Through this initiative, we will work with our partners to accelerate global efforts to reform education and better prepare students for the 21st century. Given the importance of SDG Target 4.7 to children and young people, the symposium is the ideal platform for the launch of this important global initiative. - Sam Loni, Symposium Chair & Director of Global Schools, SDSN

Learn more about the annual Vatican Youth Symposium at For more information and media inquiries, please contact us at


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