Statement by the GPE Board Chair on the December 2019 Board meeting
Julia GIllard, Alice Albright and the Global Partnership for Education Board of DIrectors. December 2019. Credit: GPE

Nairobi, December 12, 2019 – The Global Partnership for Education Board of Directors met in Nairobi, Kenya, December 10-12, 2019.

I am grateful to the Government of Kenya for hosting this Board meeting of the Global Partnership for Education, and the Board was glad to hear about the impressive system-wide progress that the government has made, with support from our partnership and funding.

We opened this session by congratulating Alice Albright on her re-appointment as the Chief Executive Officer of GPE for another three-year term and are looking forward to her continued leadership. I also welcomed the announcement from Switzerland and Luxembourg of additional financing for GPE.

As we enter the final year of the GPE 2020 strategic plan, the Board is looking to the future. Much of our deliberation focused on preparing the strategic plan for the next five years. The Board endorsed a vision for GPE to break with business as usual and bring transformational solutions to the learning crisis, including rallying partners together to achieve SDG 4. To that end, the Board endorsed a commitment to inclusion, equity and learning, the central role of teachers and teaching, and gender equality, and reaffirmed GPE’s focus on the geographic areas that are home to the overwhelming majority of the world’s out of school children and those not learning. The Board agreed that GPE would focus on the poor and most marginalized to ensure no child is left behind, and will prioritize at least one year of pre-primary education and 12 years of education and training. To enable the success of the next strategic plan, the Board agreed to a five-year financing period, with a pledging conference to take place in mid-2021.

GPE is committed to focusing on what works and learning from the evidence base. To that end, the Board welcomed the Independent Summative Evaluation initial findings that GPE grants are significant to the implementation of governments’ education strategies and the strengthening of education systems, and that education sector plans and connected strategies produced by GPE countries have significantly improved, resulting in more inclusive sector dialogue and a stronger partnership. The Board agreed that more progress is required in the areas of implementation and monitoring, mutual accountability, and better alignment of international funding with government led strategies and systems.

The Board received an update of measures being taken to improve GPE’s operational efficiencies and strengthen the Secretariat’s ability to deliver the new strategic plan, including consolidating grant operations, better alignment of technical and policy support to countries, and enhanced monitoring and evaluation functions. To this end, the Board mandated the Secretariat to explore options for Board decision to increase the efficiency of the grant application and approval process, and approved new delegated authorities to the Grant and Performance Committee and to the Secretariat to approve grants, which will accelerate efforts to more effectively operationalize maximum country allocations. These efforts complement efforts under the Effective Partnership Roll Out that will increase the impact of GPE’s work at the country level. These key changes will be taken forward through the next strategic plan period.

In response to high quality demand, the Board approved additional funding for the Knowledge and Innovation Exchange (KIX), allowing twice the number of proposals to be supported. Other Board decisions included making the existing accelerated funding mechanism that gives countries swift access to additional funds in an emergency additional to a country’s maximum country allocation, an approach to grant funding for education needs in Syria, and a process through which for-profit provision of core education services may be considered in exceptional circumstances.

We warmly thank our host, the Government of Kenya, for their hospitality, and all our Board Members and partners.

The Board will convene informally in Washington DC on March 23-25, 2020 for further deliberations on the new strategic plan, and then again formally in the Netherlands on June 9-11, 2020 and in Berlin on December 1-3, 2020.

Julia GIllard, Alice Albright and the Global Partnership for Education Board of DIrectors. December 2019. Credit: GPE

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