Since 2012, UNESCO, in collaboration with its Member States, has undertaken a project to draft a new Global Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education.
This Global Convention would encompass all countries and support:
- the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4, especially as it concerns the quality enhancement of higher education
- growth in student mobility
- the recognition of academic credentials as a global right
- international consistency in recognition procedures and
- increased international cooperation
UNESCO has undertaken extensive consultations with Member States to gather comments and suggested amendments to the draft version of the Global Convention. Throughout this process, provincial and territorial governments provided comments to inform Canada's position.
- in June 2017, the consultation focused on the initial draft text.
- in November 2017, a second version of the draft text was discussed at the 39th Session of the UNESCO General Conference. For more information, consult CMEC's Report of the Canadian Delegation.
- in March 2018, UNESCO consulted with Member States on the text of the third draft of the proposed Global Convention. Provincial and territorial governments were invited to submit comments on the text to CICIC. Canada's position was then transmitted to UNESCO through Global Affairs Canada.
- In spring and summer 2018, CICIC consulted assessment services and competent recognition bodies in Canada on a draft of the proposed Global Convention. The information collected is intended to inform provincial and territorial governments' decision-making processes with respect to the possibility of Canada's ratifying the proposed Global Convention.
- in December 2018 and March 2019, UNESCO held the First and Second Intergovernmental Meeting on the Global Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education. The meeting was organized by UNESCO to bring together technical and legal experts appointed by Member States and associate members. The aim of the meeting was to assist UNESCO with examining the revised preliminary draft of the Global Convention, dated November 12, 2018, in light of comments from Member States and relevant stakeholders received during the March 2018 round of consultations.
- in September 2019, UNESCO published the Progress report on the preparation of the Draft Global Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education.
- on November 14, 2019, UNESCO Member States reviewed and adopted the Global Convention at 40th Session of the UNESCO General Conference in November 2019. The adoption is the formal act by which the form and content of a proposed treaty text is established. Given its adoption, the Global Convention will now be open to ratification by interested UNESCO Member States.
Major upcoming milestones
The major next steps for governments in Canada are to:
- confirm the implementation of the provisions of the Global Convention.
- reach a consensus with provincial and territorial governments on the agreement to ratify the Global Convention, in order to notify Global Affairs Canada, which is responsible for initiating the administrative procedure for having Canada ratify an international treaty and
- prepare the declaration that will accompany Canada's ratification instrument, in order to provide specifics about the Convention's implementation in Canada.
For more information, consult UNESCO's Web site.