Last year, the Commission on Geographical Education (CGE) published an International Charter on Geographical Education. This imposing tome fails the real-world test at the first hurdle. Despite this being a 2016 publication, there is only one reference to the SDGs. This is in a section saying that the Charter is "supportive of the principles" set out in:
- the Charter of the United Nations
- the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- the Constitution of UNESCO
- the UNESCO Recommendation concerning Education for International Understanding, Cooperation and Peace
- the Declaration on the Rights of the Child
- the UN Sustainable Development Goals; and
- many national curricula and statements on geographical education.
There are affirmations and proclamations galore, and an action plan, but just one mention of the SDGs. To me, this illustrates the un-worldliness of the thing: written by international geographers for international geographers. How are we supposed to take this seriously when it’s clearly about geography, rather than the state of the world? Try looking up “poverty” or “justice” and see what you get. I’ll spare you the trouble: one mention and zero mentions, respectively.
Wake up geographers; there's a whole world out there not waiting for you to see your relevance to it.