GPE Board Chair summary: Outcomes of the Global Education Summit
Julia Gillard, GPE Board Chair, at the Global Education Summit
Julia Gillard, GPE Board Chair, at the Global Education Summit

GPE’s fourth replenishment reached its first major milestone at the Global Education Summit, which was held on July 28 and 29, 2021 in London and online.

The Summit underlined education’s key role in accelerating the fight to end poverty, prevent climate change and improve health outcomes, and highlighted the importance of putting education at the top of the international agenda as the world seeks to respond to and recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The diversity of participants who rallied around the Summit demonstrated global solidarity to prioritize education for children and young people in the world’s lowest-income countries.

The Summit secured record commitments of international, domestic and private funding for education, providing a huge boost to children’s learning in the world’s lowest-income countries.


Co-hosted by Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom and President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, the two-day hybrid event brought together Heads of State and ministers from donor and partner countries, leaders from businesses and private foundations, representatives from international organizations, development banks, civil society organizations, teachers organizations and youth leaders. Joining those attending the Summit in London, more than 2,500 participants attended through a virtual summit portal.

The Summit kicked off on July 28, with more than 80 speakers from diverse organizations participating in four virtual sessions on the themes of: Education’s Reset: Learning from COVID-19; Gender Equality in and Through Education; The Ripple Effect: Education’s Impact on Sustainability; and Financing for Impact: Volume, Equity, Efficiency.

On July 29, nearly 100 speakers joined the Summit proceedings in person from London or virtually.

In addition, 150 partners organized 70 side events that took place between July 19-28th under the summit themes of gender equality, teaching and learning, access and inclusion, COVID-19, domestic financing and climate change.

The Summit was a high-level demonstration of the world’s commitment to working in partnership, through GPE, to end the learning crisis, and a resounding endorsement of GPE’s new strategic plan, GPE 2025.

The commitments made will help the world accelerate progress to deliver 12 years of quality education plus one year of pre-primary to the most marginalized girls and boys, and get back on track towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4.

The Summit builds on GPE’s successful “Raise Your Hand” campaign. Since the campaign launched in October 2020, GPE has mobilized support from political champions such as French President Emmanuel Macron, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, celebrities including international football star Didier Drogba and Kenyan Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge, leaders from international organizations and civil society, and youth leaders and networks from around the world.

Highlights: Domestic financing commitments

The Global Education Summit mobilized unprecedented high-level support from GPE partner countries for domestic education financing. As part of GPE’s replenishment campaign, Heads of State have endorsed a global call to action on domestic financing to education, led by President Kenyatta of Kenya. These endorsements represent the highest level of political will to prioritizing domestic financing for education, at a critical time when it is needed most.

To date, 19 Heads of State have endorsed the Kenyatta Declaration, which calls for countries to protect education budgets at pre-COVID-19 levels and also, where this has not been attained, increase domestic financing for education towards the global benchmark of 20 percent of annual budgetary allocations. Over the next five years, the countries endorsing this statement are committing up to US$196 billion in education financing.

Keeping domestic financing high on the political agenda of GPE partner countries is a goal that extends well beyond the Summit. The Kenyatta Declaration provides momentum for a greater number of partner countries to commit to prioritizing education budgets and moving towards the 20 percent global benchmark. Kenya is already a leader in domestic financing in Africa, spending 26 percent of its domestic budget on education.

In addition to those endorsing the Kenyatta Declaration, 25 countries submitted individual commitments to prioritize and protect the volume of education financing, and improve its efficiency and equity, making sure that financing is increasingly reaching those who need it the most – girls, children with disabilities, displaced populations or those who live in hard to reach areas.  These marginalized groups have been the most affected by the global pandemic.

National budgets account for the vast majority of education financing. These commitments are critical to ensuring that education systems are properly financed to recover from the effects of the global pandemic, and to mitigate against the learning losses faced by so many children who have missed out on school during this time.

Highlights: Donor pledges

At the Summit, 23 donors announced a record $4 billion in pledges to the GPE Fund. This puts GPE firmly on the path to achieving its target of raising at least $5 billion over the next 5 years.

These pledges build on the commitment to girls’ education announced last month at the G7, where the UK corralled a collective pledge to GPE of at least $2.75 billion and called on other donors to step up and fully fund GPE’s ambitious new five-year plan.

This includes the UK’s pledge of £430 million (US $600 million). This is the UK’s largest ever pledge to GPE and keeps the UK in the position as GPE’s top bilateral donor.

The EU broke a GPE record, pledging EUR 700 million (US $830 million). This is the largest single-donor pledge ever made to GPE.  

The LEGO Foundation joined the partnership pledging $10 million, the biggest single pledge GPE has ever received from a private foundation.

We welcomed 4 new donors into the Partnership, showing GPE’s continuing success at growing and diversifying its donor base. Finland and Korea re-joined GPE with substantial increases in their pledges.

Highlights: Co-financing

Leaders from businesses, foundations and development banks, along with a range of partners, have mobilized more than $1.1 billion in catalytic co-financing to the GPE Multiplier. This is a major leap towards GPE’s goal of an additional $3 billion in co-financing over five years.

This includes more than $100 million from businesses and private foundations, with five new foundations and nine new private sector partners.

Members of the Arab Coordination Group announced US $400 million in co-financing available to unlock funding from the GPE Multiplier.

Another US $700 million has already been secured based on approved expressions of interest for 2021.

Business partners launched two major new public-private partnerships to support GPE partner countries, one to use social marketing expertise to drive up girls’ enrollment in school and one to strengthen data systems to drive evidence-based improvements in education systems. These in-kind commitments are valued at $6.5 million.

What’s next

The Global Education Summit has provided a massive funding boost to millions of children and young people around the world, whose education has been so deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, exacerbating an already dire learning crisis in the world’s lowest-income countries.

The $4 billion raised by donors for GPE announced at the Global Education Summit today represents 80 percent of GPE’s fundraising target raised in just the first six months of our five-year campaign.

A number of donors also indicated their intent to pledge or could not pledge for the entire period at this time, however, GPE is projecting that at least $500 million in additional funds will be available from these donors, and this will be included in the total available for allocations. This brings projected contributions to the GPE Fund to $4.5 billion or an average of $900m per year to the GPE Fund, a 30 percent increase over the previous replenishment period.

This is a vital start, however, there is still much more to be done.

We are still amidst the greatest education emergency of our time. The COVID-19 pandemic threatens to roll back decades of progress, especially for the most marginalized.

With so much at stake for the most vulnerable children, especially for the poorest girls, GPE will continue its efforts to mobilize more and better financing for education.

Addressing the scale of the challenges before us will require new donors joining the partnership, existing donors continuing to lead, partner countries implementing their commitments and civil society and young advocates continuing to mobilize.  

We are confident that by working together, we can achieve – and even surpass – our target of raising at least $5 billion 2025 to help transform education for millions of children and young people.

Julia Gillard, GPE Board Chair, at the Global Education Summit
Julia Gillard, GPE Board Chair, at the Global Education Summit

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