European parliamentarians raise hands for GPE

At a virtual roundtable convened by the International Parliamentary Network for Education (IPNEd), parliamentarians from across Europe discussed the vital role of GPE in leveraging more and better financing for education in lower-income countries and the importance of a fully funded GPE. Here are the key takeaways.

April 21, 2021 by IPNED Secretariat
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5 minutes read
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European MPs raising hands for GPE replenishment.
European MPs raising hands for GPE replenishment.

On Thursday, April 15, members of parliament from across European donor countries joined forces in support of a fully funded Global Partnership for Education (GPE).

At a virtual roundtable convened by the International Parliamentary Network for Education (IPNEd), parliamentarians from across Europe discussed the vital role of GPE in leveraging more and better financing for education in lower-income countries and the importance of a fully funded GPE.

Opening the roundtable, Hon. Giulio Centemero, IPNEd Regional Representative for Europe, outlined why GPE’s upcoming replenishment will be a test of the commitment of European governments to support the education of children living in lower-income countries:

“We should be proud that as previous donors to GPE, our countries have played a vital role in delivering quality education to children living in the world’s poorest countries. The scale of the global education emergency now warrants a redoubling of that commitment”.

The parliamentarians also heard first-hand accounts of how GPE supports governments in lower-income countries to help ensure that every child receives a quality education.

Mamadou Talla, Minister of National Education of Senegal, set out how his ministry has worked with GPE to transform education in Senegal:

“Senegal has been a partner of GPE since 2006. This cooperation has enabled us to enroll over a million additional children in school. The share of our budget directed to education has always been superior to 20%. This is partly thanks to the support of GPE”.

Minister Talla said that despite the unprecedented challenges presented by COVID-19, with the support and investment of a fully funded GPE, Senegal will be able to continue to accelerate educational progress:

“As elsewhere, Senegal has been deeply impacted by the pandemic. Thanks to support of GPE we reaffirm our commitment to increase our expenditure directed towards education. A contribution of over $5 billion to GPE will have a significant impact in Senegal and other low-income countries.”

Alice Albright, GPE’s CEO, told MPs “Tens of millions of children are at risk of dropping out of school forever, especially girls. We are facing the worst education crisis the world has ever seen. All the progress that has been made on learning and enrollment is completely at risk”.

“Parliamentarians have played an extraordinary role in making the case for education and GPE. Now is the time to ramp up the pressure on decision makers in government. Budget decisions are being made now”.

Following these remarks, the parliamentarians raised their hand for GPE’s financing campaign in a powerful demonstration of the support of European parliamentarians for a fully-funded Global Partnership for Education.

The parliamentarians then discussed the actions they have taken or are planning to take in support of GPE’s replenishment. Harriett Baldwin MP, IPNEd Co-Chair, outlined how parliamentarians in the UK have come together across party divides in support of GPE.

“In the UK we’ve penned a letter from more than 40 parliamentarians to our Prime Minister asking for a UK contribution of £600 million to GPE over the next five years”.

Christoph Matschie MdB spoke about how the Bundestag has played an influential role in scaling up Germany’s support to basic education and GPE. “Just three weeks ago we passed a resolution in the parliament asking the government to further step up its financing of education and we are now making an effort to increase the budget available to GPE”.

Senator André Vallini also shared how he had led efforts in the National Assembly of France for a law on the globally agreed target of spending at least 15% of overseas development aid on education, alongside securing an ambitious investment in GPE.

Among the parliamentarians in attendance were chairs of parliamentary committees, party spokespeople on foreign affairs and development cooperation as well as a number of former development ministers.

“We will not at all manage to reach the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 if we are not focusing more strongly on education and especially girls’ education. I will do my utmost to build a strong coalition in parliament advocating for a strong commitment from Denmark for GPE”, Ulla Tørnæs, a member of the Danish Parliament and former Minister for Development Cooperation.

Hon. Emanuele Del Re, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, who is now the President of the Standing Committee on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda in the Parliament of Italy, pledged her support: “I will promote a parliamentary hearing on global education and invite the Global Partnership for Education for a briefing. We are committed to replenishing GPE and trying to increase Italy’s contribution to GPE”.

Parliamentarians from the European Parliament, Ireland, Norway and Sweden also shared the value they place on their country’s support to GPE.

MPs were also joined by Helen Grant MP, the UK Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Girls Education, who spoke about the UK’s ambitions for GPE’s financing summit, which it is co-hosting with the Government of Kenya in July. The Special Envoy called on her parliamentarians to “do whatever you can to further raise the profile of this really important summit and encourage your own governments to pledge ambitiously in GPE as we seek to build back better from COVID-19.”

“I was thrilled with both the breadth of support and depth of understanding among European MPs of the critical role that education aid has to play in supporting the world’s poorest countries to educate their children,” said IPNEd Executive Director Joseph Nhan-O’Reilly.

“In the face of unprecedented pressure on public finances caused by the COVID pandemic, parliamentary support for aid, for education and for GPE is more important than ever and I’m pleased that we’ve been able to support and amplify the support for GPE of MPs from across Europe at this crucial time.”

IPNEd has published country specific briefings for MPs from donor parliaments on GPE.

As part of its work on education financing, IPNEd will be convening parliamentarians in the Asia-Pacific for a similar high-level roundtable, as well as hosting in June a global event for MPs from developing and donor countries designed to build political support for more and better domestic funding and international assistance for education.

For more information about the Network’s work on education financing, please visit https://www.ipned.org/ipned-campaigns or email info@ipned.org

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