Contributed by: Ebba Ossiannilsson     ICDE OER Advocacy Committee   , Chair and Ambassador

Contributed by: Ebba Ossiannilsson
ICDE OER Advocacy Committee, Chair and Ambassador

In late April (24th April, 2019) UNESCO launched an updated version of the proposal for a recommendation for Open Educational Resources (OER). This version is based on the views of UNESCO member countries. The proposal will now be discussed at an intergovernmental expert meeting at the end of May 2019. Thereafter, a decision to adopt a recommendation will be taken by UNESCO’s general conference in November 2019.

The ICDE OER Advocacy Committee (OERAC) worked together with some of the ICDE OER Chairs on the UNESCO draft which were out for a referral and for comments in summer 2019. The OERAC submitted their response in due time. Even some of the ICDE OER Advocacy Committee Ambassadors for the global advocacy of OER responded to their national UNESCO Councils, as for example Professor, Dr, Ebba Ossiannilsson (event Chair for OERAC), responded to the Swedish National Commission for UNESCO.

It will now of course for sure be of interest to follow the necessary strategies and further implementation worldwide. ICDE OER Advocacy Committee (OERAC) is planning a webinar (date to be confirmed) to follow up the recommendations and possible implementations in member countries.


The Director-General’s Circular letter (CL/4273) regarding the Revised Draft Preliminary Report and Draft Recommendation concerning Open Educational Resources

           Executive Summary

  1. The document is prepared further to 39C/Resolution 44 of the UNESCO General Conference, and a follow-up to ‘the Study on International Collaboration on Open Educational Resources (OER) (201 EX/Decision 9), which concluded that a Recommendation is best suited to further the development and expansion of OER in the interests of Member States achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4.

  2. The document sets the context by outlining recent events for mainstreaming OER in education systems, as well current trends and potential for further applications in OER. It further highlights that there is a global interest in OER to be used by the international community to support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

  3. It outlines the outputs of the 2nd World OER Congress (18-20 September 2017, Ljubljana, Slovenia): the Ljubljana OER Action Plan and Ministerial Statement.

  4. It further describes the outputs of preparatory activities for the 2nd World OER Congress, namely: the six regional consultations, global online consultation of the Ljubljana OER Action Plan 2017, and global online survey and the OER Global Report 2017

  5. It reasserts that a Recommendation is the best-suited instrument by which UNESCO can promote international collaboration.


  1. Further to 39 C/Resolution 44, and 201 EX/Decision 9, a Recommendation has been identified as the best-suited form of standard-setting instrument in this area. It has been recognized that in comparison to a Convention, a Recommendation is more flexible and will become operational more rapidly. Despite being a statement of principles, it has the potential to raise the profile of OER collaboration to a higher political level in all Member States of UNESCO. This can play an important role in stimulating the realization of the potential of OER for accessing knowledge freely, providing quality content at no cost, helping to foster equitable and inclusive teaching and learning and supporting curriculum development at all levels.

  2. Recognizing that the Ljubljana OER Action Plan is the outcome of a lengthy process of international collaboration and consensus building, the main themes of the Recommendation are drawn as a starting point from this document. Therefore, the draft Recommendation addresses five objectives: (i) Building capacity of stakeholders to create access, use, adapt and redistribute OER; (ii) Developing supportive policy; (iii) Encouraging inclusive and equitable quality OER; (iv) Nurturing the creation of sustainability models for OER; and (v) Facilitating international cooperation.

  3. A Recommendation on OER could potentially play a strong role in supporting strategic cooperation between the Member States in OER development, to minimize unnecessary duplication in OER development investments and to develop a global pool of culturally diverse, locally relevant, gender-responsive, accessible, educational materials in multiple languages.

  4. Based on the present study, it is clear that a Recommendation on OER would provide a dynamic and effective solution for supporting an international collaboration in this area which is of utmost importance at a time when the usage, creation, and availability of OER has become an essential building block for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


  1. Building capacity of stakeholders to create, access, use, adapt and redistribute OER

  2. Developing supportive policy

  3. Encourage inclusive and equitable quality OER

  4. Nurturing the creation of sustainability models for OER

  5. Facilitating international cooperation



Member States should, according to their specific conditions, governing structures and constitutional provisions, evaluate policies and programmes related to OER using a combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches, as appropriate. Member States are encouraged to consider the following:

  1. Deploying appropriate research programmes, tools and indicators to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of OER policies and incentives against defined objectives, including specific targets for disadvantaged and vulnerable groups;

  2. Collecting, presenting, and disseminating progress, good practices, innovations and research reports on OER and its implications with the support of UNESCO and international open education communities; and

  3. Developing strategies to monitor and evaluate the educational effectiveness and long-term financial efficiency of OER, which include participation of all relevant stakeholders. Such strategies could focus on

Source: The Director-General’s Circular letter (CL/4273) regarding the Revised Draft Preliminary Report and Draft Recommendation concerning Open Educational Resources, UNESCO

 Short facts about the OERAC

The ICDE OER Advocacy Committee work aligned with the United Nation UNESCO Recommendations and the movement from awareness raising, commitment to action, based on the latest Ljubljana statements, SDG, especially SDG4, and Cape Town Declaration 10+.

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Read more about OERAC at ICDE web


Julie Schiering