Over the weekend, world leaders gathered in Dakar, Senegal to make financial pledges toward the goal of reaching every child with a quality education. They pledged a landmark US$2.3 billion to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).

“That’s a big number, well worth celebrating, but it’s not the whole story. Here’s what stands out to me,” says Maree Nutt, CEO  of anti-poverty advocacy organisation RESULTS Australia.

Australia’s pledge: Australia’s pledge of AU$90 million over the next 3 years brings the total we have committed to GPE to  $500 million since 2011.  

“While RESULTS welcomes a further contribution to GPE, Australia is becoming less generous with each replenishment.  This pledge is a far cry from Australia’s four- year pledge of $270 million in  2011 which then dropped to $140 million from 2014.  This new commitment also falls well short of the broad civil society campaign asking for $200 million, ”says Ms. Nutt.

Who’s leading the way – not Australia. In 2011 Australia was one of the top two  donors to GPE and in 2018 we will likely drop out of the top ten. Significant cuts to the aid budget in recent years are having a deep impact on our support of vital mechanisms like GPE.

“At this global conference, it was low-income and conflict-affected countries that pledged the overwhelming majority of the funds. They committed $110 billion for their national education programs, recognizing that education is both a human right and an antidote to poverty as well as extremism. Every dollar pledged plays a role in giving more children the future they deserve.”

Where we’re still falling short. Donor countries pledged an additional US$2.3 billion  to the Global Partnership for Education over three years making it the largest commitment ever. However, it still falls well short of  the $3.1 billion that was needed to fully fund the ambition of GPE of  reaching 870 million children, having 19 million children  complete primary school and training 1.7 million teachers.

“The GPE also aims to expand its reach to an additional 24 countries by 2020 including 12 countries in the Indo Pacific region. This will benefit us all and represents good value for our aid investment.  With more than 263 million kids out of school globally, the weekend commitments  will help put a big dent in that number, but there is more work to be done.”

For more information please call 1300 713 037 or email monique.mcdonell@results.org.au