Ahead of the G7 Foreign Minister's Meeting next month, parliamentarians representing the G7 nations convened to ensure the prioritization of education within this year's G7.
Cutting across political and geographic boundaries, parliamentarians from across the world joined together to urge G7 leaders to commit to protecting, prioritizing, and increasing official development assistance (ODA) to education.
The high-level exchange was hosted by the Global Partnership for Education, in collaboration with the International Parliamentary Network for Education (IPNED), Education Cannot Wait (ECW) and the Global Campaign for Education (GCE).
Education Ministers from Haiti and Ethiopia made an urgent rallying cry to G7 nations, highlighting what is at stake if action isn't taken on increasing aid to education in lower-income countries.
In response to both the severity of the situation and the opportunities to unlock the power of education for global change, parliamentarians from across G7 nations released the following joint statement:
As parliamentarians from across the G7, we call on G7 countries to urgently drive progress on Sustainable Development Goal 4 by including global education on the agenda of the 2023 G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting and ensuring an explicit commitment to protect, prioritize, and increase international education financing within the G7 leaders' communique.
The statement came as the largest economies of the world prepare to gather for the G7 Summit in Hiroshima, while facing an education crisis of historic proportions. Children's learning lost due to the pandemic could reduce future lifetime earnings by US$21 trillion.
War, global economic upheaval, food, energy, and climate emergencies - all disproportionately affecting lower-Income countries - have pushed the education crisis to the brink and are destabilizing global social and economic security.
Prime Minister Kishida of Japan was announced as a Global Champion for Education at the UN Transforming Education Summit in 2022 and, under the Japanese G7 presidency, education has been listed as a sub-priority within human development. Upholding the G7's legacy on global education will prevent further roll back of decades of progress in achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4.
The event confirmed high-level political support from Japan towards education within the G7 process and outcomes: "As the world's major economic powers gather at the G7 summit in Hiroshima, we must recognize that there is a severe education crisis affecting many developing countries… It is very crucial for the G7 countries, including Japan, to prioritize education as a top issue and secure an increase of funding for education. We have a responsibility to not only talk about our ideals but also take action." Shared MP Suzuki of Japan, the event's Co-Chair.
Takei Shunsuke, State Minister for Foreign Affairs for Japan, also emphasized - via a special video address - support for education as an indispensable tool for human security and reconfirmed Japan's support in enabling the education sector to meet SDG4.
During the closed-door discussions, Parliamentarians from Germany, Japan and Italy highlighted that education is an investment and a basic human right, not an expense, setting out that investing in education to build human capital and capacities is a key solution for sustainable, democratic, peaceful and prosperous societies – all of which are G7 priorities.
Parliamentarians from Canada, the USA and UK gave particular focus to the power and potential of unlocking every girl's right to an education.
Ensuring multilateral funds – the most effective form of international education financing – are resourced to meet their goals is a vital element of securing the G7's legacy and ambitions on girls' education, including ensuring G7 support to ensure ECW and GPE are both fully funded.
The entrenched education crisis will not be solved in one G7 cycle and must remain a consistent part of the agenda. It was therefore encouraging to hear from Italian MPs their ambitions to keep education on the agenda at the G7 2024.
Parliamentarians and ministers provided convincing testimony that education will create the world we want. They agreed to hold their governments to account on G7 commitments to girls' education and drive for increased financing – making strides in the fight for every child, everywhere, to have the quality education they deserve.
Laura Frigenti, GPE’s CEO, noted the strong legacy generated by G7 nations dating back to 2017, welcoming the demonstration of ‘unity in action’. She called on G7 governments to put education front and center of the G7 in the long-term. “We have the momentum and promises - now we need the political will.