At the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Global Education Summit today, donor governments pledged an estimated total of $4 billion, falling short of the ‘at least $5 billion’ target.
Yet developing countries stepped up, pledging a total of $196 billion in domestic education financing.
We welcome the commitments made to girls’ education, particularly from GPE developing country partners, but regrets that the urgency of the current funding gap in education has not been matched with sufficient financial contributions from donor governments.
David Thomson, Executive Director of Strategy and Collaboration for Plan International said:
COVID-19 has created the biggest education emergency in our lifetime, and gender inequalities will only worsen as the climate crisis continues.
“COVID-19 has created the biggest education emergency in our lifetime, and gender inequalities will only worsen as the climate crisis continues, leaving more girls at risk of falling behind. We urgently need funding that will address these inequalities, ensuring that every girl has the chance to learn, lead and thrive.
“World leaders had a unique opportunity to meet the urgency of the moment by committing to fund the $5 billion target set by the Global Partnership for Education. Donor government’s failure to grasp the scale of the global education crisis will have far-reaching implications for millions of girls and the most vulnerable learners.
“There has never been a greater need to address the education crisis and invest in education for the most vulnerable. Unless world leaders step up, there is a real risk that decades of progress made on girls’ rights and education will be lost.”
It is feared that 20 million girls may not return to school following the COVID-19 pandemic, and this year alone, the Malala Fund estimates that climate change will prevent at least four million girls from completing their education.
Make gender equality and climate justice a priority
Nnenna Onwuka, from youth organisation Transform Education, hosted by UNGEI, said:
“We have said it before and we will say it again: education for gender equality and climate justice must be a priority. Donor governments don’t seem to get it - $4 billion is simply not enough.
“It is frustrating because this shortfall quite literally affects our lives. But we will not stop, we demand more commitments at COP26 and demand to be listened to in the meantime.”
Developing country partners have pledged a record $196 billion to fund education, with the majority stepping up to meet globally recognized target of 20% of national budget expenditure to education.
The summit also saw strong political commitments on girls’ education, including inclusion of young people and data, technology and innovation, particularly from Cameroon, Malawi and Sierra Leone.
World leaders must fill the education financing gap
Plan International and Transform Education will work together with young people to hold governments to account on these commitments.
While donor governments fell short of the target at the summit this week, there are further opportunities to step up and fill the education financing gap.
As global leaders prepare for the COP26 summit in November, Plan International and Transform Education are urging world leaders to listen to girls and fund their demands for education that advances gender and climate justice, while continuing to prioritise girls’ education in their Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) investments.