Simona Costanzo-Sow: Education and knowledge have a key role to play in the 2030 Agenda

21.11.2016 – An interview with the Sustainable Development Course Coordinator at the United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC).

Adopted in September 2015, the 2030 Agenda constitutes the new framework for international cooperation. It is the pivotal national and international policy roadmap for sustainable development. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is a key partner for realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

A decisive factor in the Agenda is education. Thus, in March 2016, the United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC) opened its Knowledge Centre for Sustainable Development in Bonn. The Knowledge Centre provides an opportunity to engage in joint learning and knowledge sharing in connection with the 2030 Agenda – not only for UN staff members but for their government partners, too. In early September 2016, Simona Costanzo-Sow profiled the Knowledge Centre’s work at an event co-hosted by the City of Bonn and GIZ where she outlined local and international activities to implement the 2030 Agenda. In an interview, the Sustainable Development Course Coordinator explains education’s significance in realising the Agenda.


Ms Costanzo-Sow, off the top of your head – what does the 2030 Agenda mean for you personally?

A vision and plan for joint action – with global validity. For me, it’s particularly important that we adopt a more ‘holistic’ view of our planet through the Agenda. We share joint responsibility and need joint solutions. Social, economic and environmental considerations have to be viewed as a whole – and that is a prerequisite for sustainable development.

What role does education play in realising the Sustainable Development Goals?

Education and knowledge play a major role. If people are not aware of the bigger picture and can’t share their opinions about it, they can’t develop and adapt their way of thinking and acting. We have to create more space and opportunities for communicating and sharing knowledge – not just in formal systems, but through innovative formats, too.

There are more critical hotspots around the globe – what challenges do these conflicts pose for the 2030 Agenda?

Conflicts definitely show that, in the long term, we have to engineer fair and decent development for everyone. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are a key step in the process as they address many of the deep-rooted and structural causes that underlie our world’s present-day crises.