The Global Partnership for Education Board of Directors met virtually over three 3-hour sessions December 7-10, 2021.
The Chair and Vice-Chair opened their first Board meeting, recognizing how the COVID pandemic has set back progress in addressing the learning crisis, and called the Board to raise the bar, with agility and adaptability, and out of the box thinking, to help deliver education where it is most needed.
With awareness of the ongoing impact of the COVID pandemic, the Board considered the Partnership’s country focused work. The Board received an update on the roll-out of the GPE 2025 Operating Model in six pilot countries, including the strengthening of human rights and incorporating gender equality into all GPE operations.
The Board also approved a delegation of authority to the Secretariat to approve indicative allocations of the GPE Multiplier, which will reduce the time required to secure allocations. As well, the Board approved the operational approach to ‘frontloaded cofinancing’, an innovative finance approach to unlock the Multiplier by creating new cofinancing options for countries that might otherwise struggle to access the Multiplier.
The Board also acknowledged the 2021 Results Report, covering the period of the previous strategic plan, GPE 2020, noting the progress made in improving learning outcomes, in closing the gender gap, and in increasing education financing.
The Board discussed developments in Afghanistan, where the rights of girls to a quality education have been curtailed.
The Board welcomed the CEO’s report which offered a reflection on GPE’s trajectory and growth over the nine years of the CEO’s tenure and Board members expressed strong appreciation for her contribution to GPE. The CEO urged the Board to maintain a sense of urgency and ambition and ensure a capacity for agility in order to realize the full potential of GPE as a fund and partnership.
At the midpoint mark of the six-year World Bank-GPE hosting agreement, the Board heard the report of an independent consulting firm on the implementation of the World Bank-GPE Memorandum of Understanding for the Hosting of GPE (hosting MOU) to date and suitability of the hosting MOU for GPE’s future trajectory.
In recognition of the strategic and administrative challenges in the hosting of the Secretariat, the Board agreed to the Executive Committee’s recommendations to request the Secretariat to negotiate changes to the hosting MOU with regards to specific priority issues, as well as to commission follow on work to assess a range of institutional scenarios based on their feasibility, costs, and alignment with GPE’s mission and strategic objectives.
The Board also requested a formal response from the World Bank to the report of the consultants.
The Board also received GPE’s financial report, which outlined GPE’s financial position following the Education Summit of July 2021 where $4 billion in donor pledges were secured. The report updated the Board on the status of country allocations and the impact of currency valuations of non-US dollar pledges, as well as the impact of donor pledge movements, since the Education Summit. The World Bank also updated the Board on progress towards a currency hedging option for the Board’s future consideration.
Lastly, the Board heard an update on the process to recruit a new CEO, requesting the Chair and Vice-Chair to lead the recruitment with the assistance of a selection committee representative of Board constituents and the World Bank.