The International Finance Facility for Education (IFFEd) launches an unprecedented international effort to mobilize $5 billion of new financing for education and accelerate progress towards SDG 4: the provision of inclusive and equitable quality education and promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all.

New York/ London/ Amsterdam- September 30, 2019Answering the UN General Assembly’s call to make 2020-30 the “Decade of Action and Delivery,” the Education Commission and its partners are launching a campaign to mobilize $5 billion dollars by early 2020 through an innovative new financial instrument. In a strong show of leadership, the Netherlands and the UK announced initial contributions of $600 million, which will enable IFFEd to unlock in excess of $2 billion of new affordable funding for children in lower-middle-income countries (LMICs).

The Facility will operate based on key principles set down in SDG4 and international agreements around development financing to help ensure that IFFEd is effective, proving value for donors and beneficiaries. Specifically:

  1. The beneficiary country must have a national education sector plan or other credible strategic framing document that demonstrates a commitment to SDG4.
  2. The beneficiary country must be committed to improving education opportunities for marginalized children and youth consistent with the principle of “leave no-one behind”.
  3. The beneficiary country must demonstrate a commitment to increase or maintain its domestic education budget in line with international standards.
  4. Providers of finance must demonstrate that additional resources provided by IFFEd do not affect debt sustainability, and this is to be demonstrated in an evaluation of debt sustainability using international best practice methods.
  5. Financing must be results-based and aligned with nationally owned targets (consistent with the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness).

With only ten years remaining until the UN’s Agenda 2030 deadline, the international community needs to significantly accelerate efforts to meet the goals of SDG 4. Today, 260 million children are not in school and more than 600 million children who are in school are failing to learn. On current trends, by 2030 half of the world’s children – 800 million – will not be learning the skills needed to thrive in today’s global economy. During the UN General Assembly, world leaders were pressed to accelerate progress and turn the next ten years- from 2020 to 2030- into the Decade of Action, to move from promises to concrete actions for all children.

In a hopeful sign for global education, two key champion countries, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, answered the call and supported the establishment of the International Finance Facility for Education (IFFEd), a highly innovative new financing vehicle. Together these two key contributions will lead to more than $2 billion in affordable financing for education being made available for lower-middle-income countries through the multilateral development banks (MDBs). IFFEd is a major recommendation of the Education Commission, set forth in The Learning Generation report released in September 2016.

The Education Commission, initial contributors and the #WriteTheWrong campaign are now calling on additional donor countries, philanthropies and other stakeholders to join these efforts to make a lasting difference for millions of children in LMICS.

According to UN Special Envoy for Global Education and Education Commission Chair Gordon Brown: “The status quo is not an option when millions of children don’t go to school. These generous contributions from the UK and the Netherlands show that is possible to drive change. We now need more countries to join and make a lasting difference once and for all the girls and boys”

The world will not be able to address the poverty crisis, the climate crisis, or the health crisis if it does not invest in providing children with required knowledge and skills.. By 2030, lower-middle-income countries, where the vast majority of the world’s poor live, will account for nearly 80 percent (more than $70 billion) of the estimated global shortfall in funding for education. International donors’ funding for education has been on a downward trend, while many policy makers face untenable choices of where to invest scarce domestic resources to meet a growing spectrum of sustainable development priorities.

IFFEd, which has the power to help tens of millions of children go to school and prepare millions more young people for the workplace of tomorrow, is expected to become operational in early 2020. The UNGA announcements will help kickstart a mobilization campaign to increase contributions to enable IFFEd, its MDB partners and beneficiary countries achieve lasting results.

Gordon Brown to conclude: “We are now on track to make the International Finance Facility for Education operational within a few months.”  


Quotes from initial contributors: 

Sigrid Kaag, the Netherlands Minister for Trade and Development Cooperation, which announced $250 million in guarantees “we are proud to be spearheading the launch of one of the largest investments in global education history. We believe that the International Finance Facility for Education will greatly help accelerate progress in access to education and quality of learning.”

Alok Sharma, the United Kingdom Secretary of State for International Development, which announced £100 million in grants and $250 million in guarantees to support the Facility, “It is staggering that a child whose mother can read is 50% more likely to live past the age of five and twice as likely to attend school herself. If we educate girls today we will transform the world of tomorrow and ensure all future generations thrive. That is why the UK is increasing support to give every girl across the world the chance to go to school.


About the International Finance Facility for Education

The International Finance Facility for Education is a major recommendation of the Education Commission, set forth in The Learning Generation report released in September 2016. Contributor countries are being called upon to provide the Facility with $1 billion in contingent financing and $1 billion in grants for IFFEd’s first funding period (2020-2014), which will then be leveraged by the MDBs to mobilize up to $5 billion in new affordable financing. Initial financial contributions from the Netherlands and the United Kingdom during the UN General Assembly will encourage others to contribute to enable IFFEd to become operational by 2020. Four major multilateral development banks (African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the World Bank) have partnered with the Education Commission in designing IFFEd.  In addition to their support, IFFEd has been recognized in the G20 declaration in Hamburg and supported by the United Nations Secretary-General and the G20 Group of Eminent Persons.