On 15-16 November 2022, G20 leaders met in Bali to work together towards a stronger recovery from COVID-19. With interconnected crises across the world – from Ukraine to the combined food, fuel and climate crises – this year’s G20 took place in a context of upheaval and uncertainty.
This demanded that the G20 demonstrate bold leadership, progressive partnership, and better financing to facilitate genuine change, especially for those left furthest behind.
Education is key to progress towards the wide-ranging ambitions of this years’ G20. But education’s positive impact can only be unlocked through more and better funding to education to meet the growing levels of need and leverage its impact on other global challenges.
GPE welcomes the Leaders’ Declaration and its strong acknowledgement of access to education as “a human right and a pivotal tool for inclusive and sustainable economic recovery”, as well as the vital commitment to, “accessible and effective education systems.”
I am also encouraged by the strong language on achieving the SDGs by 2030 (including through innovative financing), the drive towards “advancing women’s and girls’ equal access to inclusive and quality education”, and the imperative for joint action on the climate, food, fuel, and economic crises, especially in lower-income countries. These commitments, all of which are core to GPE’s mission, link to the G20s promise to, “act in solidarity...with developing countries to rebuild more resilient, tech-enabled, accessible, and effective education systems”.
These are all the foundations upon which a better tomorrow will be built. But dreams remain pipedreams, unless they are invested in.
As a signatory to the joint partners letter on global education financing in advance of the leaders’ summit, we had called on G20 leaders to make an explicit reference to prioritizing, protecting, and increasing education financing (both Official Development Assistance and domestic budgets in partner countries), including ensuring global funds and initiatives like the GPE are fully funded.
I urge G20 leaders to continue the legacy they have started, driving greater ambition to education financing in the G7 process and through the Italian presidency of the G20 next year.
Education remains on the sidelines of foreign policy, and until it is brought to its heart, progress on a more prosperous, greener and more peaceful future will elude us.
I echo GPE youth leaders in looking forward to a day when education is lauded as an ‘investment and not an expense’.