Partnering for impact: five opportunities for 2024 and beyond

02 January 2024


IIEP-UNESCO is the only United Nations organization with the mandate to support countries with educational planning and management. But to transform education, one institution cannot do it alone. Partnerships are at the core of sustainable change and are key to ensuring robust educational planning and accountable and effective management. 

To ring in 2024, IIEP shares five key areas for partnerships, as discussed during five panels in its last Donors’ Day, which brought together partners and beneficiaries to reflect on the power of planning to address evolving country needs and global urgencies. 

Strengthening systems for sustainable planning 

Over the past two years, IIEP supported 19 education sector analyses and plans, shaping the education of 109.4 million children and youth. This has included simulation models, costed action plans, and monitoring, evaluation and learning frameworks. IIEP collaborates with education actors across centralized and decentralized levels to ensure a nationally led, participatory process. This helps cultivate a long-term, sustainable approach to planning and effective implementation. To further enhance this system-strengthening approach, IIEP will also be launching a new Global Campus in 2024, which brings together all its training programmes and courses with a new micro-credential and diploma system. 

Taking gender equality to the next level 

The Gender at the Centre Initiative (GCI), which IIEP co-leads with the UN Girls’ Education Initiative, illustrates the power of partnerships and alliance building. After four years, the first phase of GCI wrapped up in 2023 with support to eight sub-Saharan African countries: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. The multi-faceted programme has strengthened internal alliances within ministries to integrate gender equality into the policies and plans, including through gender-responsive budgeting within ministries of finance. With renewed funding from France, a second phase is underway to consolidate progress and deepen engagement at the country level.

Making education a critical solution to the climate crisis  

Recognizing education’s role in climate change solutions, IIEP is integrating climate action into the planning cycle. As collaboration with more countries is on the horizon, IIEP will focus on implementing adaptation and environmental sustainability measures in climate-vulnerable contexts. As part of the GPE climate-smart education systems initiative, IIEP will contribute evidence-based strategies for climate-smart education system reforms, emphasizing disaster risk reduction and resilience planning and implementation, use of climate data, cross-sectoral coordination, and climate-relevant pedagogy and training. 

Fostering south-south collaboration and sharing evidence  

Building on its history of generating and sharing evidence, IIEP’s Office for Latin America and the Caribbean has pioneered innovative and thematic Communities of Practice, which are flexible, virtual spaces where policy-makers and education stakeholders can exchange knowledge, network, and develop their expertise and leadership. In 2024, IIEP will replicate this network at a global scale, reaching its worldwide alumni network and enhancing the exchange of knowledge and expertise in planning and management.

Forging new partnerships for wider impact   

The last panel underscored the importance of new partnerships and strategic alliances to address emerging and long-standing challenges such as the use of learning data to measure SDG 4 progress and disability-inclusive education. Recently established partnerships were shared, for example, support to deliver the Education Leadership Seminar in 2024 and partnerships to pursue new research to shape the future of education, spanning topics such as the middle tier, use of digital tools to promote accountability, and how to narrow the gaps between learners.