United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres; United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed; heads of state of France, Norway, Malawi and Senegal; and other global education leaders including Malala Yousafzai and UN Special Envoy Gordon Brown met in the margins of the UN General Assembly to commit to tackling the global ‘education crisis’ holding back millions of children and threatening progress.
Around 264 million children and adolescents are not in school and only 1 in 12 young people in low-income countries is on track to gain secondary level skills. Despite some progress in achieving gender equality in the world’s poorest countries, far more girls than boys still do not have access to a quality education.
"Investing in education is the most cost effective way to drive economic development, improve skills and opportunities for young women and men, and unlock progress on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Financing education is indeed the best investment we can make", said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.
Financing the Future: Education 2030 – aimed at securing political commitment and investment in quality early-childhood, primary and secondary education – was co-hosted by France, Malawi, Norway and Senegal in partnership with the Education Commission, Global Partnership for Education, Malala Fund, ONE Campaign, UNICEF and UNESCO.
"130 million girls are out of school today. They are pushing back against poverty, war and child marriage to go to school. The Sustainable Development Goals were a promise that we would fight with these girls. So far, we have failed. We have big goals, but we will not reach any of them unless we educate girls. If we want to grow economies, improve the air we breathe, promote peace and advance public health, we must invest in girls," said Malala Yousafzai, Malala Fund co-founder and UN Messenger of Peace.
The Governments of Senegal and France announced that they will co-host the third Global Partnership for Education (GPE) financing conference, which will take place on 8 February 2018 in Dakar, Senegal.
"The Global Partnership for Education has made substantial investments in education helping to get 72 million more children into primary school since 2002, including in Senegal," President Macky Sall said. "We are honoured to host the next GPE Financing Conference in Dakar and look forward to continuing our close partnership with GPE."
This is the first time a donor and developing country will co-host a GPE financing conference, symbolising the spirit of true partnership, which is the essence of GPE.
President Macron of France stressed that one of his top priorities is to invest in education. "I call on the international community to join us in February 2018 in Dakar for the Global Partnership for Education Financing Conference, which France will co-host with Senegal," Macron said.
The event in Dakar will bring together donor and developing country governments, the private sector, philanthropic foundations, civil society and international organisations to announce commitments to support education in developing countries.
"The financing conference of the Global Partnership for Education is an opportunity for a much needed step change, allowing donors and developing countries to show their financial commitment to education," said Julia Gillard, GPE Board Chair and Former Australian Prime Minister. "Senegal and France jointly hosting the GPE financing conference demonstrates the determination of both governments to help GPE expand its support for strong and sustainable education systems in developing countries."
GPE's financing conference seeks to raise US$3.1 billion from donors for 2018 through 2020 to support the education of 870 million children in 89 developing countries that are home to 78% of the world's out-of-school population. The goal for developing countries is to increase their domestic expenditure to 20 percent of their overall budget.
“Delivering the political will and resources required to ensure that all children access the quality education they deserve is the civil rights struggle of our time,” said Sarah Beeching, Oshun Partnership’s Executive Director, “The level of engagement at Financing for the Future was inspirational, we generated a moment to be proud of. Now the harder work begins turning these fine words into solid commitments and action in Dakar and beyond. This will be the litmus test of the world’s commitment not just to education, but to the Sustainable Development Goals in their entirety. We cannot afford to fail.”