29 December 2021, Geneva, Switzerland - On the 2nd of December 2021, UNITAR hosted the third meeting of UN SDG:Learn Steering Group entirely online. The meeting was co-organized with the UN System Staff College (UNSSC).

The main objectives of this meeting included an overview of the various accomplishments of UN SDG:Learn in 2021 and discussions regarding the future of the initiative. The various efforts, hopes and intentions of the Learning Pathways working group, the working group on Partnership, Co-creation and Programming, and of the working group on Communication were shared with partners. This meeting was also a great opportunity to reiterate the vision and goals of UN SDG:Learn.

Executive Director of UNITAR, Mr. Nikhil Seth’s inaugured the meeting with a heartwarming message about partners’ sustained engagement and adaptability throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and highlighted how the innovations and technical opportunities developed then would be greatly beneficial to reach and support vulnerable groups in a renewed joint effort to Leave No One Behind.

Director of the Division for Satellite Analysis for Applied Research, Mr. Einar Bjorgo, and Head of Office the UNSSC Knowledge Centre for Sustainable Development, Mr. Patrick Van Weerelt followed suit with their welcoming remarks, sharing the vision of UN SDG:Learn and thanking partners for their participation.

Similarly to the previous years, 2021 was a successful year for UN SDG:Learn by growing the number of partners to 60 and users to more than 120 thousand as well as offers on the platform, including new content and new features. Among the key highlights and new and improved features of UN SDG:Learn presented during the meeting is the new assessment based recommendation system that will allow users to test their knowledge on the cross-cutting SDG competencies and SDGs overall through questions with a particular focus on different scenarios to assess the cognitive, socio-emotional and action planning abilities of the users. Based on the results, a set of courses and microlearning will be recommended to the users that he/she could build his own Learning Pathway accordingly. Based on the nine so-called mental models or personas of the platform that were identified after the big study of last year, users will be able to indicate to which mental model they belong to and get recommendations too along with the existing SDG tags. The system will be launched in January 2022. New content on the platform also included UN SDG:Learn own blog and podcast series featuring experts from various partner organizations as well as outside. Among the communication efforts, the Joint Secretariat has provided detailed analytics on the outreach and the performance of the platform.

Open discussions following each working group presentations as well as the open discussion concluding the meeting highlighted various opportunities for cooperation.  In regards to data and analytics, for example, systematic communication concerning the impact of UN SDG:Learn on partners platforms can be developed. In general, more data-driven decisions are crucial for the initiative. Increasing the overall impact of UN SDG:Learn was highlighted as a major point of focus and ways to achieve this implies nurturing the incredible potential of the partners’ different networks to disseminate information through social media and other communication channels as well as the fieldwork undertaken by partners through networks, workshops and events all around the globe to ensure reach the furthers behind and leave no one behind.  

In addition to the surveys conducted among users as well as analysis of the data analytics, to ensure all partners have a voice, the conduction of more frequent surveys among partners to collect as much feedback as possible was proposed.

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