Speaking alongside his special envoy for global education, Gordon Brown, Secretary General António Guterres drew attention to the critical issue of innovative funding for education.
He recalled that the “world is going through multiple crises,” and that governments, businesses and families everywhere are feeling the financial strain.
In addition, two-thirds of countries have cut their education budgets since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“But education is the building block for peaceful, prosperous and stable societies,” he emphasized.
“Reducing investment almost certainly guarantees more severe crises further down the line.”
Educational support ‘urgent’ needed
The top UN official described: “We need to get more, not less, money into education systems”.
He argued that while rich countries can increase financing from domestic sources, many developing countries are affected by the cost of living crisis.
“They urgently need support for education,” confirms Mr Guterres.
He then went on to highlight the role of the International Finance Facility for Education in securing funding for lower-middle-income countries – home to 700 million out-of-school children – and the majority of the world’s displaced and refugee children.
The UN chief told the media that the facility is not a new fund, but a mechanism to increase the resources available to multilateral banks to provide low-cost education funding.
“Over time, we expect it to grow into a $10 billion facility to educate tomorrow’s generation of young people,” he said.
“It will complement and collaborate with existing instruments, such as the Global Partnership for Education, which provide scholarships and other assistance.”
The Secretary General congratulated his special envoy and all countries and institutions involved in getting the facility off the ground.
“I urge all international donors and philanthropic organizations to support it,” he said.
Taking steps forward
Earlier today, Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed opened day 2 of the summit, “Solutions day,” by reiterating the need for educational transformation; equality and inclusion; rethinking curricula and innovation in education.
“But loud and clear, we need more and better funding,” she emphasized. “We cannot do this with fresh air, which must be fed”.
She described education as “a vast ecosystem” that supports many other lofty goals and called for “a sense of urgency” in scaling projects.
“No more pilot projects, we know exactly what to do,” she says. “It’s all about taking steps forward”.
Building a future
The three-day Transforming Education Summit kicked off yesterday at UN headquarters in New York.
It started with a day of youth-led mobilization, with contributions from the Secretary-General, his deputy and the President of the 77th General Assembly, Csaba Kőrösi.
Tomorrow, the UN chief will introduce his vision statement, along with world leaders, in the General Assembly Hall as the Summit draws to a close.