The UN’s 17 ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cover almost every aspect of human activity on the planet, ranging from calls for ‘No Poverty’ through ‘Gender Equality’ to ‘Climate Action’. But SDG4–Education is most relevant for publishers, as it seeks to ‘ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’ by 2030.

The two-person IPA delegation was made up of Executive Committee member, Trasvin Jittidecharak, and Secretary General José Borghino.

Borghino said: ‘The meeting was a wake-up call for publishers – we were not mentioned once during the two-day conference, except when I rose to say that the best way to provide a quality education for all in the future was for governments and others to work closely with educational publishers, acknowledging them as key stakeholders in the process of ensuring that all students reach their full potential.’

He added: ‘It became clear that, for NGOs in the education field at least, publishers are not yet seen as part of the equation. We need to argue clearly and strongly that without professional educational publishers, SDG-4 will be almost impossible to achieve by 2030. If developing countries are serious about improving their educational infrastructure, the capacity building of the educational publishing sector must be a first-order priority.’

The IPA Executive Committee and the IPA’s Educational Publishers Forum (EPF) will discuss this issue, and the IPA will approach UNESCO and other UN agencies to explore ways to promote publishers’ indispensable expertise and the need for their active involvement in the SDG conversation.