Global Education Forum

A platform for global coordination and action

The Global Education Forum (the Forum) was established in September 2019 to bring together high-level leaders from key donor countries and multilateral institutions supporting SDG 4. It aims to improve international collaboration and advocate for increased and more effective investment in global education.

Commission Chair Gordon Brown’s statement at the Leaders’ Dialogue on Investing in Education during the November 2021 Global Education Meeting

The Forum aims to accelerate global progress towards achieving inclusive, equitable, and quality education for the world’s children and youth.

Its goals:

  1. Develop a clear message around the urgency of the global education emergency
  2. Strengthen coordination of bilateral and multilateral international support to ensure predictable, sustainable and coherent financing and deliver economies of scale and scope, and greater efficiency and impact on the ground
  3. Work with leaders from selected countries, at their request, to mobilize international support for their national objectives and country plans.

In September 2020, the Forum provided a platform for donors to discuss the Save Our Future White Paper, a report developed by key multilateral donor members together with major civil society organizations to highlight the urgency of the education crisis, develop a common narrative, and propose priority actions for the international community to take in response to COVID-19. The White Paper built on the UN Secretary-General’s Policy Brief on the education response to COVID and beyond. The priority actions were endorsed by the Forum members and in October 2020, formed the basis of the 2020 Global Education Meeting Declaration which states the commitment of governments, international agencies, civil society, and the private sector to protect education finance and four priority actions (safe school reopening, support to teachers, skills development, and connectivity and digital learning) to accelerate progress towards SDG 4 in the COVID-19 context and beyond.

Forum Co-Chairs

Audrey Azoulay
UNESCO Director-General

Gordon Brown
UN Special Envoy for Global Education and Education Commission Chair

Graça Machel
Education Commissioner and former Minister of Education of Mozambique

Mari Pangestu
World Bank Managing Director of Development Policy and Partnerships

Tharman Shanmugaratnam
Senior Minister of Singapore

To drive progress, the Forum will continue to convene meetings twice a year to discuss specific priorities and agree upon coordinated bilateral and multilateral donor collaboration to mobilize financing and donor support for the priority areas identified in the 2020 GEM Declaration and Save Our Future White Paper: safe reopening of schools, supporting teachers and education personnel; investing in skills development; and narrowing the digital divide.

As UNESCO currently leads the reform of the SDG 4-Education 2030 global coordination mechanism with a view to strengthening the SDG4-Education 2030 Steering Committee’s education policy guidance, the GEF’s role in global advocacy for increased education financing is seen as a critical pillar of this reformed global education coordination mechanism.

Learn more about the Forum and its relationship to the SDG 4-Education 2030 Steering Committee within the global education coordination structure here.




April 2021 Meeting Summary›
Read the high-level summary and key follow-up actions from the spring GEF meeting

April 2021 Proposals for Action›
Learn more about the proposals for consideration by Forum members at the April 2021 meeing

Action Memo on School Health and Nutrition›
Background paper 1 for the April 2021 meeting

Action Memo on Teachers and Vaccination as Part of School Operations›
Background paper 2 for the April 2021 meeting

Action Memo on Foundational Learning›
Background paper 3 for the April 2021 meeting

Action Memo on Digital Learning for All›
Background paper 4 for the April 2021 meeting