Education commission calls for 8-Fold Increase in GPE Funding

20 Sep 2016

Guest blog written by Tony Baker, Education for All Manager, RESULTS Educational Fund

Today, as part of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, a group of global leaders known as the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity released its much-anticipated report on ending the finance crisis in global education.

Co-convened a year ago by the Prime Minister of Norway, Presidents of Malawi, Chile and Indonesia, and the Director-General of UNESCO, the Commission was tasked with developing a renewed investment case for education and financing a pathway for accelerated progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

The Commission consists of 25 current and former heads of state, ministers, five Nobel laureates, and leaders in the fields of education, business, economics, development, health, and security. Chaired by the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown, the Commission includes Jim Kim, Julia Gillard, Tony Lake, Graça Machel, and Kailash Satyarthi, among others.

As part of the ambitious agenda laid out by the report — the culmination of a year of engagements with a network of 30 research institutions and over 300 partners in more than 100 countries — the Commission calls for an 8-fold increase in funding for the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), the world’s premier multilateral partnership exclusively devoted to improving the provision of quality basic education.

As the report states, financing through GPE “should increase to $2 billion per year by 2020 and $4 billion per year by 2030.” With GPE currently disbursing about $500 million per year, this increase would be a quadrupling of resources by 2020 and a further doubling thereafter by 2030. “This would make the work of the GPE equivalent in scale of financing to the levels the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria receives today.”

"Only one-third of education aid goes through multilateral institutions compared with nearly two-thirds of global aid to health. To increase efficiency and effectiveness, a much higher share of ODA [official development assistance] should go through multilateral institutions, including global partnerships. This would include the multilateral banks, as discussed below, UNICEF, Education Cannot Wait, the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), and UNESCO’s Institute of Statistics (UIS) and International Institute for Education Planning. The GPE is carrying out a major set of reforms and, if they are successful, their financing should increase to $2 billion per year by 2020 and $4 billion per year by 2030. This would make the work of the GPE equivalent in scale of financing to the levels the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria receives today."

The Commission’s report follows last year’s international calls for GPE to be further scaled up and act as part of the global coordination mechanism for achieving the education SDG (see Education 2030 Framework for Action and Addis Ababa Action Agenda). From these calls, GPE is already undertaking a series of reforms to its financing and funding structures to more effectively leverage and deliver education resources. The innovative financing mechanisms laid out by the Commission’s report make it a timely contribution to this process and will help GPE further build the framework needed for its successful scale-up.

The Commission’s call is incredibly important for the world’s poorest children, as GPE anticipates a campaign next year to replenish its resources. The campaign will see global leaders pledging new financial commitments to GPE to drive the next round of its vital work.

More broadly, the Commission’s report lays out 12 recommendations across four areas of education transformation: performance, innovation, inclusion, and finance. The Global Campaign for Education, to which RESULTS Educational Fund is an international member, has also released a response to the Commission's report. The Commission will now continue its work to build the global leadership, momentum, and advocacy required to take these recommendations forward.

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