Japan recently announced a pledge of US$8.5 million to GPE, with the majority of funds earmarked to countries in conflict - $6.2 million is for Yemen and $1.6 million is for Syria. The remaining $0.7 million will be used by the GPE fund to help countries develop and implement education sector plans.
To learn more about Japan’s pledge, two GPE youth leaders interviewed Mr. Akira Endo, Special Coordinator for Syria and Chargés d'Affaires ad interim, the Embassy of Japan in Syria, about Japan’s efforts to support children in fragile and conflict-affected countries and its Official Development Assistance (ODA) policy for education.
Ayesha Farah is a 29-year-old British-Somali who is a passionate advocate for global education and committed to change through the power of youth participation.
Tomoe Nakano is a 27-year-old Japanese who firmly believes that good quality of education is essential for all, and is particularly interested in early childhood development.
Akira Endo is a Special Coordinator for Syria and Chargés d'Affaires ad interim, the Embassy of Japan in Syria.
Ayesha Farah: In 2008 when Japan was the host of the G8, Japan also hosted an important Education for All - Fast Track initiative (EFA-FTI, the predecessor to GPE) meeting with donors. Is there any plan for Japan to do something on SDG 4 at the G7 Summit that Japan is going to host in 2023?
Akira Endo: As you rightly pointed out, during its past G7/G8 presidency, Japan launched initiatives in the field of education. At the G7 Ise-Shima Summit, for example, Japan shed light on the importance of girls' education. Japan would like to consider the possible outcomes of the G7 summit next year, taking into account the past achievements by the G7 as well as the priorities of the German presidency this year.
Ayesha Farah: What are the challenges Syrian children are facing in education and what are Japan’s priorities in tackling this? What are your expectations of GPE’s support to Syria?
Akira Endo: Since the outbreak of the Syrian crisis in 2011, 2022 marks the 11th year of the conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic. Families and communities continue to experience violence, displacement, socioeconomic deprivation, health hazards from the pandemic, and trauma.
UNOCHA said in 2020 that domestically, more than 11.1 million people including 4.7 million children would need at least one form of humanitarian assistance in that year due to vulnerabilities resulting from displacement, exposure to hostilities, and limited access to basic goods and services.
The conflict has eroded progress toward achieving SDG 4. Prior to the crisis, almost all children were enrolled in primary education, and secondary school enrollment was 76 percent. The exacerbation of the conflict has resulted in a large number of out-of-school children who are particularly vulnerable.
Japan has a longstanding relationship with Syria. Since 2012, Japan has provided more than US$3.2 billion in emergency and humanitarian assistance to Syria and its neighboring countries through international organizations. Japan is determined to continue close collaboration with the international community to enhance access to humanitarian assistance in Syria.
The pledge to Syria is a part of Japan’s unwavering commitment to delivering humanitarian assistance for all Syrians who are facing difficulties. Japan expects GPE to support all children in Syria to have access to quality education.