With no pledge from administration, U.S. leadership on GPE falls to Congress
Developing countries show ambition, but donors fall short at education financing conference
Dakar, Senegal, February 2, 2018 — Global leaders gathered this week in Dakar, Senegal for the largest ever education financing conference, convened by the Global Partnership for Education. At the conference, it was low-income and conflict-affected countries that pledged the vast majority of the total funds — $110 billion — for their own national education programs. Many countries committed to achieve the international target of devoting twenty percent of their national budgets to education, and many surpassed it.
Donor countries pledged an additional $2.3 billion over the next three years for the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). This falls short of the $3.1 billion donor target for GPE, which is designed to fill critical funding gaps for counties to reach the most vulnerable children, strengthen their education systems, and catalyze new investment. For its part, the United States sent a representative to Dakar but made no commitments beyond what Congress had already appropriated for GPE.
“Today’s announcements mark a big step forward, with low-income and conflict-affected countries showing remarkable commitment to addressing the education crisis” said Joanne Carter, Executive Director of RESULTS and RESULTS Educational Fund.
“Unfortunately, with some important exceptions, donor countries have not yet matched that ambition,” Carter continued. “The United States had a chance to demonstrate leadership on a world stage and amp up its investment in global education for children who need it the most. Regrettably, the administration did not take this opportunity. It is now up to Congress to make sure millions of kids aren’t left behind as a result.”
Last spring, the White House proposed drastic cuts to global development funding, including education. Congress rejected those cuts, and instead pushed for an increase in funding for GPE. In the last five years, members of Congress have more than tripled the annual U.S. commitment to GPE. Right now, a bipartisan resolution supported by more than 100 members of Congress is calling for continued U.S. leadership.
While welcoming the leadership of several key donors, Carter and other civil society leaders at the pledging conference were disappointed that donor pledges overall did not match the commitment shown by lower-income countries. Now civil society is calling for greater ambition and increased resources from a range of donors to fill the gap for GPE. Carter said that in the U.S., it falls to Congress to increase funding.
“There is bipartisan leadership in Congress on global education, and we are now counting on them to step up for the world’s kids,” she said. “We’ve made huge advances through GPE, but the reality is that 263 million kids remain out of school. It doesn’t have to be this way. We know education is one of our most powerful tools in reducing poverty and inequality, and has positive ripple effects throughout communities and nations. And we must not forget that education is a right, not a privilege.”
About RESULTS and RESULTS Educational Fund:
RESULTS supports a movement of passionate, committed everyday people using their voices to influence political decisions that will bring an end to poverty. Volunteers and staff multiply their impact through the enormous power of advocacy.
Our movement of volunteers is backed by a staff of researchers, policy analysts, and legislative and media experts. Our shared goal is the end of poverty. We have affiliates and partners across five continents, and a network of volunteers in all 50 states and worldwide. We’re a non-partisan advocacy group comprised of RESULTS Educational Fund, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, and RESULTS, a nonprofit 501(c)4 grassroots lobbying organization.