The G20, under the Presidency of Italy, has placed people, planet and prosperity at the center of its pillars of action to ensure a quick response to the pandemic and to build resilience to future shocks.
On October 30th and 31st 2021, G20 leaders met in Rome and their declaration reiterated their belief that education is a human right and a pivotal tool for inclusive and sustainable economic recovery.
I welcome the G20’s commitment to ensure access to quality education for all, especially the focus on women and girls and vulnerable students. The promise to make education systems inclusive, adaptable, and resilient, is key to transforming learning for hundreds of millions of children around the world.
I urge leaders to carry their recognition of the importance of education for sustainable development forward to their COP26 discussions this week.
I was also pleased to see the G20 include the elimination of gender-based violence and a commitment to address the digital divide by promoting universal and affordable access to connectivity for all by 2025. Both these areas are critical to achieving sustainable development goal 4 and ensuring a quality education for every child.
COVID-19 created the biggest disruption to education that the world has ever seen. As we build back from the pandemic and help countries build resilient systems capable of responding to future crises, we must ensure that education remains a political and financial priority.
In July, at the Global Education Summit co-hosted by Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the UK and President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Heads of State and Government from 19 low- and lower-middle income countries made historic commitments to domestic financing for education.
Relieving, postponing and restructuring debt for low- and lower-middle income countries is critical to create the fiscal space for countries to invest in social sectors, including education, which is why I also welcome the G20’s Debt Service Suspension Initiative.
At the Summit, donors pledged US$4 billion to enable GPE to support education for the world’s most marginalized children. This put us firmly on the path to achieving our target of raising at least $5 billion over the next five years to help transform education in up to 90 countries and territories and enable up to 175 million children to learn.
But there is much more to be done. I urge G20 leaders to continue to prioritize education for the most vulnerable children around the world and invest in transforming education systems for more prosperous, stable and equitable societies.