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Raising awareness of sustainable development goals among primary school children

Ljubljana, 26 September 2018 – Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy this week supplied primary schools across the country with an educational game called Go Goals! whose purpose is to raise awareness of sustainable development goals among primary school children. Slovenia made a firm commitment to implement the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015 along with other UN Member States. Primary schools across the country will receive the didactic game in the week of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly in New York which is taking place between 19 September and 5 October 2018. A number of events across the globe and in the EU will mark this occasion with a view to raising awareness and promoting action towards sustainable development. Partnerships between governments, the private sector and civil society, not only at the level of individual countries, but also at the global level are what a successful sustainable development agenda requires. 

 

Minister for Development, Strategic Projects and Cohesion Marko Bandelli wrote a letter to heads of primary schools underlining that in order to deliver on SDGs ‘’we need to be more aware of the current state of our planet, and to acknowledge and understand the problems of overuse of natural resources, unsustainable production and consumption, growing inequalities across countries, climate change and a number of other global challenges facing current generations. For us to be able to create the conditions that allow us to harness fully our potentials, we need to start raising awareness already in early childhood.’’    
 
Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy (GODC), national coordinator on the implementation of SDGs designed the Slovenian version of the educational game in partnership with UN. The goal is for primary school children to learn about the meaning and thematic area covered by each particular SDG while raising their awareness of global development-related challenges and issues in a child-friendly and fun way. The game is also available online at https://go-goals.org/sl/.
 
Additionally, the game was also delivered to teachers who partake in the project Seeds of Change which is carried out in primary schools in school year 2018/2019 under the auspices of GODC in cooperation with the Office of the Republic of Slovenia for Youth. This reflects the government’s aim to advance active citizenship and strengthen a sense of responsibility to sustainable development through experiental learning. The project is part of a series of international initiatives on learning about global development and teaching children about the global goals for sustainable development, such as the World’s Largest Lesson which introduces the global goals to children and young people and provides teaching tips and packs, classroom activity ideas and links to lesson plans, and supports working together with schools from across the globe. 
 
The 17 indivisible and interconnected SDGs cannot be achieved without behavioural change; in effect, all of the SDGs require changes in our decision and behaviors as consumers and producers and our understanding that the economic, environmental and social pillars of sustainable development are not independent of one another. For all people to have access to quality education, we need to work together to eradicate hunger and poverty, reduce environmental pressures, take action to combat climate change, and support engagement of all layers of society, especially young people who will bear the responsibility of implementing the SDGs in the future. At the global level, Slovenia’s efforts as a UN Member State include promoting policy coherence for sustainable development, advocating for strengthening the role of women and girls, ensuring peaceful and inclusive societies, fostering good governance, equal opportunities, quality education, sustainable resource management and ending of poverty and hunger.
 
In terms of SDG Index, Slovenia progressed from ranking 17th three years ago, to last year’s 9th place, while securing rank 8 among 156 surveyed countries this year. Nevertheless, a number of challenges are still facing Slovenia, especially in the area of sustainable production and consumption, infrastructure development and partnerships for achieving the SDGs. In terms of per-capita consumption of natural resources, for example, Slovenia performs worst in the region with its consumption level exceeding by staggering 2.75 times the amount of natural resources that are available.