NEW YORK, September 26, 2018 – On Monday, as the United Nations General Assembly started, world leaders pledged strong support for the establishment of the single largest investment in education history – the International Finance Facility for Education (IFFEd).
During the #MakeImpossiblePossible event, co-hosted by the UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed and UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown, leaders from governments including Bangladesh, Canada, Cote d’Ivoire, Denmark, Malawi, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom and international organizations including the European Commission, United Nations, UNESCO, UNICEF, Global Partnership for Education, Education Cannot Wait, and OECD-DAC committed support for the Facility as a means to help fully deliver Sustainable Development Goal 4 – the promise to ensure an inclusive and quality education for all.
In a packed UN chamber, youth representatives from local civil society organisations and from Avaaz, BRAC, Global Citizen, and Theirworld delivered a petition signed by more than 1.6 million people asking for the creation of this Facility to high-level participants including World Bank President Jim Kim, UK Secretary of State for International Development Penny Mordaunt, Netherland Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag.
The chorus of support was also strengthened by leaders from the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the Inter-American Development Bank. Civil society luminary Graça Machel and business sector leaders from Reed Smith and Goldman Sachs also pledged strong support to help move the Facility forward so it can be operational by 2019.
Commenting on the event, Education Commission Chair Gordon Brown said: “These strong commitments from world leaders are a victory for all children who will finally have the means to achieve their full potential. This growing momentum and palpable energy around global education demonstrates that we are moving from words to concrete action to establish the largest investment in education history.”
The world is facing an education crisis which is creating a wide and persistent divide between children who have access to skills and opportunity – and those who do not. If no action is taken, more than 400 million girls will not be on track to have the skills needed for employment in 2030. The International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity (the Education Commission) estimates that by 2030, more than half of the world’s children and young people – some 800 million youth – will not have the basic skills needed for the modern workforce. On current trends, it will take until after 2100 for all countries to reach the Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) target of ensuring that all children complete primary and secondary education.
In response, a number of leaders present in the room pledged direct support for the Facility, including Stefano Manservisi, Director General for International Cooperation and Development for the European Commission.
History shows that innovative and concerted international efforts can have profound impact. A decade and a half ago, such cooperation generated extraordinary new resources for the health sector and saved millions of lives. Achieving universal education would increase GDP per capita in low-income countries by almost 70 percent by 2050. Thanks to the tremendous support demonstrated at yesterday’s high-level event, the Facility will make what was once considered impossible – quality education for every child – possible within a generation.
Watch full event recording HERE.