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Lifelong learning, inclusion and the 2030 Agenda Lifelong learning is rooted in the integration of learning and living. It covers people of all ages, in all life-wide contexts and through a variety of formal, non-formal and informal learning modalities that together meet a wide range of learning needs and demands. Lifelong learning is a key principle of Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – ‘ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’. This goal, with its ten targets, calls upon governments and other stakeholders to enable people of all ages and from all socio-economic and cultural backgrounds to participate fully in and benefit from quality lifelong learning opportunities.
Today, half of humanity – 3.5 billion people – lives in cities and 5 billion people are projected to live in cities by 2030. Many of these cities are increasingly attracting people of all ages and from diverse socio-economic and cultural backgrounds in search of better lives, greater safety, basic services and decent work. Cities around the world are facing acute challenges in managing rapid urbanization – from ensuring adequate housing and infrastructure to supporting the well-being of growing vulnerable populations that include migrant populations, the poor and at-risk youth. The environmental impact of urban sprawl also represents a considerable challenge for cities and rural areas alike. Access to high-calibre, resilient infrastructures and the provision of basic services for all urban and rural dwellers are key components of development objectives, as are local economic opportunities for the creation of decent jobs and social cohesion. Yet, in order to achieve this, learning opportunities in cities must be of high quality, be inclusive of the diverse backgrounds of all learners and be offered on a continuous basis throughout life.