The importance of education and its multifaceted nature is demonstrated by the fact that states commit to it in a number of ways and for a number of purposes. In addition to states’ legal commitment to the right to education, states have also politically committed to education as an integral part of achieving sustainable development through the newly adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (‘2030 Agenda’).

Sustainable development aims at 'eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, combating inequality within and among countries, preserving the planet, creating sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and fostering social inclusion' (2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: para.13).

In 2015 the international community adopted the 2030 Agenda to build on the achievements and address the shortcomings of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The 2030 Agenda is broad and holistic in nature, covering systemic issues such as hunger, poverty, and inequality, as well as the broader governance issues of accountability, financing, and corruption. It includes seventeen sustainable development goals (‘SDGs’) which every state (not just the ‘Global South’) has committed to achieving by 2030. SDG4 is on education.