Education Cannot Wait High-Level Financing Conference Offers New Hope for World’s Most Vulnerable Children

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Education Cannot Wait High-Level Financing Conference

Geneva event co-hosted by ECW and Switzerland – co-convened by the Governments of Colombia, Germany, Niger, Norway and South Sudan – brings leaders together to fund education for children caught in emergencies and protracted crises.


Leaders across the globe will come together at the Education Cannot Wait High-Level Financing Conference on 16-17 February in Geneva, Switzerland to make good on commitments to ensure every child, everywhere, is offered a quality education.

The Conference seeks to mobilize much-needed resources from donors, foundations and high-net-worth individuals to deliver on ECW’s four-year strategic plan, which will mobilize US$1.5 billion in additional resources to reach 20 million children and adolescents caught in some of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

“This is our moment to stand up for the world’s most vulnerable children and youth and make good on our promise of ensuring quality education for all by 2030 as outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals. We can leave none behind.  With our partners, we urge leaders everywhere to mobilize additional resources so Education Cannot Wait and our strategic partners can provide more girls and boys impacted by the horrors of war, displacement, climate change and other protracted crises with the safety and opportunity of a quality education,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the United Nations global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises.

The Conference is co-hosted by Switzerland and ECW, in close collaboration with the Governments of Colombia, Germany, Niger, Norway and South Sudan, and will be open to the public as a live-streamed virtual event.

Initial keynote speakers include UN Special Envoy for Global Education and Chair of ECW’s High-Level Steering Group The Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown; Federal Councillor of the Swiss Confederation, Ignazio Cassis; Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany, Svenja Schulze; Minister of Education, Niger, Ibrahim Natatou; Minister of International Development, Norway, Anne Beathe Tvinnereim; Minister of General Education and Instruction, South Sudan, Awut Deng Acuil; and Minister of Education, Colombia, Alejandro Gaviria.

Top-level representatives from UN agencies, civil society, governments and global youth representatives will also take part in the two-day event which expects over 400 delegates in-person and many more joining online globally.

Around the world, 222 million children and adolescents impacted by conflict, climate change, displacement and other protracted crises are in need of urgent education support. Of those, more than 78 million are out of school altogether.

The High-Level Financing Conference kicks off with a high-level segment on 16 February inviting global leaders to position the education needs of crisis-impacted children at the top of the international agenda.

On day one, leaders will announce substantial new financial supports to Education Cannot Wait to deliver on the Fund’s goal to reach a total of 20 million girls and boys over the next four years.

A notable Spotlight on Afghanistan – headlined by “I Am Malala” co-author Christina Lamb and Somaya Faruqi, Captain of the Afghan Girl’s Robotic Team – will provide a key advocacy moment on the first day of the conference, along with important sessions on A New Way of Working, Delivering with Humanitarian Speed and Development Depth, and Leaving No One Behind in Forced Displacement Situations.

Day two of the Conference, on 17 February 2023, features a series of roundtable discussions aimed at sharing ideas, experiences and stories to transform the delivery of education in emergencies worldwide.

Founded in 2016, Education Cannot Wait has already reached close to 7 million children and adolescents with holistic education supports including upgrading learning spaces and ensuring children have quality learning materials, training and financially supporting teachers, and providing mental health services, school feeding and other whole-of-child solutions. The Fund has already raised over US$1.1 billion from donors, the private sector and philanthropic foundations.   

To help promote the conference, download our full #HLFC2023 Social Media Pack.

Note to Editors

Media Registration and Accreditation:

  • The High-Level Financing Conference will be held at the International Conference Centre Geneva (CICG) on 16 and 17 February 2023. Initial Programme
  • Accredited media are invited to attend either in-person or virtual. To register and for further details:
  • Media accreditation is strictly reserved for members of the press: print, photo, radio, television, film, news agencies, and online media who represent a bona fide media organization. 
  • Media that are already accredited with the United Nations are not required to provide further credentials. All other media will need to provide press credentials to obtain an accreditation. 
  • For more information on media accreditation and participation, please contact
  • All the sessions will be livestreamed on the HLFC webpage, and video recordings will be made available upon request

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