Since 2000, the United Nations has launched four global initiatives, all of which focus on education. A new publication explains the common values and ideals of these initiatives.

Links between the Global Initiatives in Education
Education for Sustainable Development in Action
Technical Paper No 1, September 2005


The Right to Education occupies a central place in human rights, and is essential and indispensable for the exercise of all other human rights and for development. The MDGs, EFA, DESD and UNLD are in line with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. These initiatives are important steps towards realizing the Right to Education for All. Taken together, however, they could be confusing. Why was each one set up? Why are there four different ideas? Are they all necessary? Are they the same? If not, how are they different? What impact will they have? And who is involved anyway?

This brochure gives basic answers to these questions. It does not provide all the answers because that would require a lot more detail. At the end of the brochure there are some addresses and websites where you can find out more, if you wish. The websites and other information are in at least one of the official languages of the United Nations.

This brochure is an attempt to explain in clear, everyday language the basics of these initiatives. First the brochure looks at each of them in turn, then shows what the similarities and differences are.