Denmark Announces Groundbreaking US$6.5 Million Contribution to Education Cannot Wait to Scale-Up Education Response to the Climate Crisis

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ECW is calling on world leaders to urgently provide US$150 million in additional funding to expand life-saving access to education for 2 million children and adolescents on the frontlines of the climate crisis.

New York

At the Conference of the Parties (COP28) in Dubai, the Government of Denmark announced today DKK45 million (approximately US$6.5 million) in additional funding to Education Cannot Wait (ECW) to scale-up access to quality educational opportunities for girls and boys living on the frontlines of the climate crisis.

New data published by ECW reveals that approximately 62 million crisis-impacted children and adolescents have been impacted by climate hazards over the past three years. With cyclones, floods and droughts increasing in severity and intensity, the risks are getting greater every day. Recent floods in Pakistan and Libya wiped out tens of thousands of schools, pushed children from their homes, and disrupted access to continuous education. In the Sahel and Horn of Africa, prolonged droughts combine with armed conflicts and violence alongside other climate hazards to push children out of school and into harms way.

"Climate and education are inextricably linked. Unfortunately, we see that climate change has devastating consequences for children's access to education, especially in countries that are already poor and vulnerable. In Ethiopia for example families lose their livestock to drought. Children are taken out of school and girls are at risk of getting married off. Likewise, floods destroy or cause schools to close for long periods of time, creating learning loss and risk of children not returning to school. With this contribution, Denmark is helping to accelerate the work to ensure that climate change does not get in the way of children’s education, and for children to become more resilient through education," said Denmark’s Minister for Development Cooperation and Global Climate Policy, Dan Jørgensen.

“Denmark makes the connection and we hope all climate change partners will follow. This generous contribution reaffirms that climate change and education are two sides of the same coin. It will catalyze our global efforts to scale-up quality learning opportunities on the frontlines of the climate crisis and deliver on the promises outlined in the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals.  As world leaders converge at the Climate Talks in Dubai, we must follow the visionary leadership of Denmark to act right here, right now, to connect the dots between climate action and education action. Together, we can now mitigate the human consequences of climate change, empower the most vulnerable children bearing the brunt of climate shocks, and ensure they are equipped with the skills to adapt to – and manage – the changing environment. Only then can we succeed in creating a climate friendly and thus more humane future,” said Yasmine Sherif, Executive Director of Education Cannot Wait, the global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises.

The new commitment from Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs brings Denmark’s total contributions to ECW to approximately US$155 million to date. With the new funding, ECW and its global partners will provide fast-acting support to ensure learning continuity by rebuilding schools and learning infrastructure after disasters strike; ensure children receive holistic education supports including access to school meals, psychosocial support, and water and sanitation facilities; enhance disaster risk reduction; and support efforts to protect children against gender-based violence and other grave violations of their human rights.

Refugee and forcibly displaced children face multiplying risks. Since 2020, climate shocks have triggered 13 million displacements of school-aged children, according to ECW’s analysis. The new funding will strengthen ECW’s work with United Nations and civil society partners to address the needs of these displaced children.  

"All children must have access to education. It is the basis for children and young people’s ability to create a better future for themselves and the next generation. It is absolutely crucial for sustainable development. That is why we urgently have to counter the threat of climate change to children’s education and ensure that they get an education that strengthens their resilience," said Jørgensen. 

In addition to its climate appeal, ECW is calling on donors, the private sector and philanthropic foundations to urgently mobilize US$1.5 billion in total funding toward ECW’s 2023-2026 Strategic Plan.

Note to Editors

About Education Cannot Wait (ECW):
Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises, hosted by UNICEF, supports quality education outcomes for refugee, internally displaced and other crisis-affected girls and boys, so no one is left behind. ECW works through the multilateral system to both increase the speed of responses in crises and connect immediate relief and longer-term interventions through multi-year programming. ECW works in close partnership with governments, public and private donors, UN agencies, civil society organizations, and other humanitarian and development aid actors to increase efficiencies and end siloed responses. ECW urgently appeals to public and private sector donors for expanded support to reach even more vulnerable children and youth.

On X/Twitter, please follow: @EduCannotWait    @YasmineSherif1    @KentPage

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