Sustainable Development Goal 4

Quality Education

Education underpins sustainable development: access to education empowers individuals to break the cycle of poverty, fosters peace by building tolerance among cultures, and promotes gender equality. 

As an educational institution, UNU inherently focuses on creating equal and open learning opportunities that advance global development. Our Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) project contributes to effective implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals by fostering learning networks among regional and local ESD initiatives, and by using ESD to bridge science and policy in higher education. Our natural resources and biotechnology training programmes provide unmatched educational opportunities for professionals from developing countries, enabling them to effectively influence policy and resource management decisions when they return home.

UN Photo/Kibae Park


Maty Konte


"A better educated population is associated with a healthier population, greater productivity, more equality, and stronger legitimacy of democratic values. Yet recent investments in education have not been translated into better quality of education in Africa. My research at UNU looks at how different aspects of governance may shape policies and actions for achieving SDG 4 in Africa."

Isabel Franco


"Challenges remain to provide effective education for sustainable development to achieve impactful outcomes within vulnerable communities, particularly for women and girls. My research recommends ways to better prepare and coordinate between higher education institutions, and key stakeholders to realise the global agenda for sustainable development for these vulnerable groups."

Philip Vaughter

Philip Vaughter


"Education plays a vital role in building capacity to achieve sustainable development, but most school systems focus on teaching us to know, not to act. My research at UNU aims to equip students and citizens with the best tools to make their lives and societies more sustainable."


Education for Sustainable Development

This project manages a series of capacity development and leadership training programmes designed to spur knowledge generation to inform policy that enables global sustainable development.

Biotechnology and Development

This project aims to promote the use of biotechnology to achieve sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean. It does so by training young researchers on the latest techniques and technologies, enabling them to make breakthroughs and solve the problems of today and tomorrow.

Education for Sustainable Development in Africa

This project promotes sustainable development in Africa by training the next generation of policymakers and researchers. It brings together eight leading African universities to offer collaborative master’s degrees in rural and urban development, and mining and mineral resources.