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Model United Nations

General Assembly Topic 2

Sustainable Development Goals 4 & 5

In September 2015, the United Nations met in a historic summit where they developed the 2030 Agenda For Sustainable Development. This agenda set 17 goals to produce green, sustainable growth across the world. Goals four and five refer to providing a quality education and working towards gender equity. Ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education, promoting lifelong learning opportunities, achieving gender equity and empowering women and girls are essential to growing sustainably in the 21st Century. Gender equity and education access are intersecting issues, both of which are precursors to effective development. Empowering women is crucial to growth and improving education is the best way to do this. This committee’s discussion will come at the intersection of gender equity in improving education to create sustainable growth, as outlined in goals four and five in the UN’s Agenda For Sustainable Development.

Investment in human capital is key to sustainable development, but investment in education has vast challenges. To highlight the scope of the problem of lacking education in the developing world, the World Bank has defined a measurement called “learning poverty”, which describes children that cannot read and understand simple text by the age of ten.  Recent data shows that 53% of children in low and middle income countries grow up in learning poverty, which is on pace to be 43% by 2030 based on the World Bank’s metrics. Education progress would need to triple in order to halve learning poverty, making goal four of ensuring equitable and quality education for all seem far away. (“Ending Learning Poverty: A Target to Galvanize Action on Literacy”). Rotary states that this lack of education traps families in the cycle of poverty, leading to pervasive poverty. (“Illiteracy Traps Adults, and Their Families, In Poverty”). Investment in education is clearly needed, effective and a precursor to sustainable development.

Improving education for all certainly helps women in the developing world, but there are specific measures that can be taken to allow women, families, and communities in the developing world to prosper. UN Sustainability Goal Five is far reaching in terms of empowering women including protecting them from physical danger, raising their social status and having them as political leaders. For the sake of cohesion, this committee will focus mostly on issues that intersect with education, including education access, family planning and economic empowerment. Women do three times the unpaid domestic and care work than their male counterparts worldwide (“Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”). Ensuring women have equal access to monetary power will be a strive towards equity that also encourages economic growth. The World Economic Forum states “The ability to decide when or whether to have children is not only a basic human right; it is also the key to economic empowerment, especially for poor women.” (“The economic benefits of family planning”). Family planning encompasses access to contraceptives, sexual education, STI prevention and basic access to pregnancy health services. On top of the moral ground that drives many to the fight for equity, it is extremely effective as the empowerment of women doubles the labor force and creates sustainable economic growth. 

As the General Assembly, your role is to create a plan to invest in education, specifically for Women, to create sustainable growth for countries and the world. 

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

  • What role do women play in your country? What access to education, employment, and capital do girls and women have?
  • What are your country’s education policies?
  • What can your country do to improve education, specifically for girls? 
  • What policies has your country developed to implement sustainable development goals?

RESOURCES TO CONSIDER:

“Goal 4 | Department of Economic and Social Affairs.” United Nations, 2021, sdgs.un.org/goals/goal4.

“Goal 5 | Department of Economic and Social Affairs.” United Nations, 2021, sdgs.un.org/goals/goal5.

“The Sustainable Development Agenda” United Nations, United Nations, 2016, https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/development-agenda-retired/

BIBLIOGRAPHY

“Ending Learning Poverty: A Target to Galvanize Action on Literacy.” World Bank, 8 Nov. 2019, www.worldbank.org/en/news/immersive-story/2019/11/06/a-learning-target-for-a-learning-revolution.

“Goal 4 | Department of Economic and Social Affairs.” United Nations, 2021, sdgs.un.org/goals/goal4.

“Goal 5 | Department of Economic and Social Affairs.” United Nations, 2021, sdgs.un.org/goals/goal5.

Kanem, Natalia. “The Economic Benefits of Family Planning.” World Economic Forum, 26 July 2018, www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/07/the-economic-benefits-of-family-planning/.

“The Sustainable Development Agenda” United Nations, United Nations, 2016, https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/development-agenda-retired/

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