Director-General Welcomes New Commission on Financing of Global Education

The Director-General welcomed the establishment of a high-level International Commission on the Financing of Global Education Opportunities, announced by the Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg at the Oslo Summit on Education for Development on 7 July.

“We have set an ambitious vision for the next fifteen years, promising 12 years of free and equitable access to quality education,” said the Director-General. “Education is one the most powerful catalysts for development, serving as a bridge from poverty to prosperity, from exclusion to participation. Achieving this vision requires political will backed by sufficient domestic resources and support from donors and new financial sources, because education should be everyone’s concern. This Commission will be instrumental in making this case loud and clear.”  

Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway, President Michelle Bachelet of Chile, President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, President Peter Mutharika of Malawi and the Director-General are the five conveners of this Commission, whose work will be financed by the Government of Norway. The UN Special Envoy for Global  Education Gordon Brown will chair the Commission, which will be composed by renown leaders and experts. The Commission will present its report to the UN Secretary-General in 2016, who stated in Oslo that he will act on its recommendations.

According to the Oslo Declaration issued at the close of the Summit, the Commission will  explore and invigorate the case for investment in education to bring about a reversal in the current underfunding. It will seek to identify means of deploying resources available in more effective, accountable and coordinated ways, and look at a wide range of financing sources, including how to support increased domestic resource mobilization through more strategic and catalytic official development assistance, non-traditional partnerships, innovative finance and the private sector.  

“Financing of education is fundamental for the realization of sustainable development,” reads the Declaration. “The Oslo Summit insists that the third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa commits to a scaling up of investments and international cooperation for education.”  

The Director-General will participate in a side-event co-organized by UNESCO on 14 July at the Conference in Addis Ababa on “The Investment Case for Education,” with the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Norway and the Republic of Korea.  

UNESCO figures show that the number of children and adolescents who are out of school totaled 124 million in 2013. UNESCO’s Global Monitoring Report estimates that it will cost an extra USD 39 billion to provide 12 years of education to everyone in low and lower-income countries, calling for a substantial increase in domestic resources and in aid to basic education. The Incheon Declaration urges that countries allocate efficiently at least 4-6% of GNP to education, in line with international and regional benchmarks; and that donors increase their support to the target of 0.7 per cent of GNP for official development assistance, prioritize least developed countries, and improve aid effectiveness.