EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT MOBILIZES AN ADDITIONAL US$23.6 MILLION TO INCREASE SUPPORT FOR VULNERABLE CHILDREN AND YOUTH – ALREADY AFFECTED BY ARMED CONFLICT, FORCED DISPLACEMENT AND PROTRACTED CRISES – NOW DOUBLY HIT BY COVID-19 PANDEMIC

World leaders today committed to expand education in emergency aid for children and youth impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic – girls and boys already suffering the brunt of armed conflict, forced displacement, climate-change induced disasters and protracted crises – with a focus on the most marginalized, including girls, refugees and children with disabilities.

With new contributions from Germany, the United States, Norway and the Netherlands, the total funds mobilized to date by Education Cannot Wait surpass US$650 million.

17 September 2020, New York – World leaders today committed to expand education in emergency aid for children and youth impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic – girls and boys already suffering the brunt of armed conflict, forced displacement, climate-change induced disasters and protracted crises – with a focus on the most marginalized, including girls, refugees and children with disabilities.

The new political and financial pledges were made during today’s global, high-level event “The Future of Education is Here for Those Left Furthest Behind”, organized by Education Cannot Wait (ECW) on the margins of the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. The event was co-hosted by Canada, Colombia, Germany, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

Two dozen political leaders, policymakers, influencers and youth advocates took the stage during the event, including education ministers from Burkina Faso, Colombia, Ethiopia and Somalia, as well as youth and teachers from the Greek islands, Lebanon, the State of Palestine, Syria, Uganda and Venezuela. They stressed the urgent need to collaborate and redouble efforts to avoid losing hard-won gains and reversing the progress recorded in recent years in political commitment and financing for education in emergencies and protracted crises.

Dr. Maria Flachsbarth, German Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, announced an additional contribution of 8 million euros (US$9.5 million) to ECW in 2020, commending the Fund’s rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic in recent months. “Thanks to ECW, partner countries have received urgently needed support very quickly. For many countries, it was the only support they received,” she said. “I hope that other partners will also commit more funding, because solidarity and cooperation are more important now than ever before if we want to ensure that we leave no one behind,” she added.

Working with a broad range of partners, ECW has disbursed over $60 million in emergency grants in 35 crisis-affected countries since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with an emphasis on reaching the most marginalized children and youth, including refugee, internally displaced and host communities girls and boys. ECW’s COVID-19 response encompasses the full scope of needs of a child’s well-being, including mental health and psychosocial support, and improved access to water, sanitation and hygiene and nutrition. Participants to the meeting stressed the importance of such a holistic approach to achieve education outcomes in crises.

“The United States strongly believes that education can be lifesaving and life-changing. That is why we are continuously striving to ensure that a focus on education is better incorporated into crisis responses around the globe and ensuring that the education provided also supports each child’s broader well-being,” said Carol Thompson O’Connell, Acting Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, U.S. Department of State, as she announced an additional contribution of $5 million to ECW.

More than 1.5 billion learners worldwide had their education disrupted at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the coronavirus continues to upend entire communities, the economy, and social and education systems, children and youth who were already living in crisis settings are at particular risk of falling behind and being further marginalized. Out-of-school girls face increased risk of sexual violence, child marriage and early pregnancies. Children and youth living in extreme poverty, precarious conditions and forced displacement may never return to school – this is particularly true for refugee children and youth, and even more so for adolescent refugee girls.

“The story about how humanity handled COVID-19 is being written now – and education will figure in the conclusion. Let it not be the story of a lost generation – nor of a community that abandoned its promise to ‘leave no one behind’ when push came to shove. Let it rather be the story of a global community that came together to ensure that the right to learning was upheld for all – also for the COVID Generation,” said Dag-Inge Ulstein, Norway’s Minister for International Development, as he announced an additional contribution of NOK 20 million ($2.2 million) to ECW.

Today’s new financial pledges to ECW add to the recent contribution of the Netherlands of 6 million euros ($6.9 million) announced at ECW’s High-Level Steering Group meeting on 11 September, bringing the total funds mobilized by ECW in just four years of operations to over $650 million.

“We must stand by those left furthest behind and move with unprecedented speed, determination and commitment to financing an innovative idea and approach in the multilateral system, in the United Nations, that has proven to work. Education Cannot Wait is no longer a start up fund, but has now turned into a full-fledged global fund, reaching 4.5 million children and youth in crises and forced displacement. ECW enables us all to bring hope to those left furthest behind when they most need us,” said The Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown, United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education and Chair of the Education Cannot Wait High-Level Steering Group.

Since its inception in 2016, ECW has reached an estimated 4.5 million children and youth with inclusive, quality education in some of the worst humanitarian crises worldwide, half of whom are girls. Building on these achievements, ECW is appealing to public and private donors to urgently mobilize an additional $300 million to respond to the pandemic and other emergencies and protracted crises in the coming months.

“We are grateful to all our partners and stakeholders who form Education Cannot Wait. All results are your results. Today, I want to thank Germany, the United States, Norway and the Netherlands for additional generous financial contributions to Education Cannot Wait – announced during the UN General Assembly week – which allows us to continue with speed during the pandemic,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. “At ECW, we believe that crises always lead to new opportunities. It is the choice we make that determines the outcome. We must all chose to give it our all and make Sustainable Development Goal 4 a reality for those left furthest behind. The future of their education must be now.”

Today’s event was also an opportunity for ECW to roll out a new donation feature through video communications platform Zoom in partnership with online fundraising platform Pledgeling. During the event, the audience was invited to make and view live donations to support Education Cannot Wait’s work for children and youth caught in conflict and crises across the globe, raising over $14,000 in just two hours. Donations can still be made at www.pledgeling.com/ECW or, in the US, by texting ‘ECW’ to 707070.

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Note to Editors

Click here to watch the full recording of the high-level event “The Future of Education is Here for Those Left Furthest Behind.”

Learn more on the high-level event: www.educationcannotwait.org/unga2020/

Share on Social: With the hashtag #EducationCannotWait and #UNGA75.


About Education Cannot Wait (ECW):
ECW is the first global fund dedicated to education in emergencies. It was launched by international humanitarian and development aid actors, along with public and private donors, to address the urgent education needs of 75 million children and youth in conflict and crisis settings. ECW’s investment modalities are designed to usher in a more collaborative approach among actors on the ground, ensuring relief and development organizations join forces to achieve education outcomes. Education Cannot Wait is hosted by UNICEF. The Fund is administered under UNICEF’s financial, human resources and administrative rules and regulations, while operations are run by the Fund’s own independent governance structure.

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

Additional information available at: www.educationcannotwait.org

To support our efforts and donate to Education Cannot Wait, text ‘ECW’ to 707070 (*from the US and Canada only) or visit www.pledgeling.com/ECW.

For press inquiries:
Anouk Desgroseilliers, adesgroseilliers@un-ecw.org, +1-917-640-6820
Kent Page, kpage@unicef.org, +1-917-302-1735

For other inquiries: info@un-ecw.org

WORLD LEADERS PLEDGE A RECORD US$216 MILLION TO EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT DURING UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY

The global fund for education in emergencies surpasses half-a-billion dollar milestone in resources mobilized to reach children and youth left furthest behind in crises

25 September 2019, New York – World leaders today committed to expanding access to inclusive quality education for girls and boys caught up in the world’s worst humanitarian crises with US$216 million in pledges for Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the global fund for education in emergencies.

Recognizing the urgent need to address the education crisis faced by millions of children and youth left furthest behind in armed conflicts, forced displacements, natural disasters and protracted crises, world leaders from Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States and the private sector – The LEGO Foundation and ProFuturo – announced significant contributions to Education Cannot Wait, materializing their commitment to “reach those left furthest behind.”

Pledges were announced in a room filled to capacity with a wide range of stakeholders at the ‘Leave No One Behind: Accelerating the SDGs Through Quality Education – Two New Initiatives’ event held at UNICEF during the United Nations (UN) General Assembly.

“Last Friday, millions of children to their credit walked out of school to protest against climate change. Today, we are protesting that no children have no school to walk out from.  There are 260 million who don’t go to school — 75 million because of crisis. There is not just a climate emergency, there is an education emergency. Today’s announcement of new funds gives new hope to the millions of children around the world,” said the Rt Hon Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education.

With the announcement of a £85 million (US$105 million) contribution to ECW at the G7 in August, the United Kingdom (UK) is now the Fund’s top donor.

“Children living through wars and humanitarian crises have had their childhood taken away from them. We will not allow their future to be lost as well. This is why UK aid is helping some of the most vulnerable children, particularly girls, get the education they deserve. This will have a transformative effect on their lives,” said Alok Sharma, the UK Secretary of State for International Development.

Education Cannot Wait and partners seek to mobilize US$1.8 billion by 2021 to reach 9 million children and youth in countries affected by armed conflicts, forced displacement and natural disasters – which are often induced by climate change. Today’s new contributions bring the total resources raised by Education Cannot Wait to $560 million to date.

“As conflict and crises multiply and last longer, the need for education in emergencies grows. By working together with partners through Education Cannot Wait, we can ensure a more coordinated and efficient response. Only then can we succeed in reaching those left furthest behind, providing opportunities for some of the most marginalized and excluded children to thrive and become positive agents of change,” said Dag Inge Ulstein, Minister of International Development of Norway, who announced that Norway will increase its contribution to Education Cannot Wait.

“Today, with this tremendous support, Education Cannot Wait and our strategic donor partners are saying to girls and boys suffering the brunt of crises ‘You are no longer forgotten!’,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. “Our investment modalities are designed to act swiftly, and we will immediately work jointly with our humanitarian and development partners on the ground in crisis-affected countries – including host-governments, UN agencies, civil society and the private sector – to transform these crucial resources into quality inclusive education, protection and physical and psychological well-being for millions of children and youth caught in some of the world’s most difficult and hostile environments.”

Since its inception in 2016, Education Cannot Wait has invested in 32 countries, reaching more than 1.5 million children and youth – half of them girls. The Fund works with a range of stakeholders – governments, UN agencies, private sector and philanthropic actors, civil society organizations and affected communities. ECW invests across the humanitarian-development nexus to support rapid education responses when a crisis strikes or escalates, while also ensuring predictable multi-year resilience education programmes for children and youth impacted by protracted crises. The Fund’s investments are designed to increase accountability, efficiency and sustainability; the share of ECW’s funding channeled as directly as possible to local actors increased from 19 per cent to 30 per cent in just two years.  

Education Cannot Wait’s strategic approach is inspired by, and aligned with the UN reform. With its lean and agile structure focused on delivering results, it is now considered one of the fastest growing multilateral initiatives to advance collective efforts towards Sustainable Development Goal 4, quality education, in crisis settings.

The ‘Leave No One Behind’ event was produced by international advocacy movement Global Citizen and moderated by CNN’s Zain Asher. Global Citizen’s Vice President of Policy, Madge Thomas, said greater attention is needed for causes like Education Cannot Wait, and that Global Citizen has joined civil society organizations including Save the Children, Theirworld, Plan International, the Global Campaign for Education and many others to help mobilize attention and resources.  

“Over 200,000 global citizens and young people around the world, some of them in the room today, called on governments to support Education Cannot Wait and provide better financing for education,” said Thomas. “Today, donors answered this call which is a great outcome to report back to all those who took action. But more is needed, and we hope this inspires other leaders to scale up support.” 

Several celebrities and global education advocates attended the event, using their presence and voice to shine the spotlight on the urgent need for education in emergencies to be front and center on the global agenda.  The list of personalities included: Education Cannot Wait’s global ‘Champion for children in conflicts and crises’ and winner of the Varkey Foundation 2019 Global Teacher Prize, Peter Tabichi, and Global Citizen Ambassador and Grammy-nominated rap-artist French Montana. World-renowned actor and supporter of Education Cannot Wait, Will Smith, also participated in the event through a video message.

LIST OF CONTRIBUTIONS ANNOUNCED FOR EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT

PUBLIC DONORS

Denmark: 25% increase in contribution for a total of US$37 million over 2019-2022, reaching a grand total of US$79.1 million to date

Germany: EUR 10 million/US$11 million, reaching a total of US$46.7 million to date           

Ireland: EUR 6 million /US$6.6 million, first-time contribution

Norway: NOK 500 million/US$55 million, reaching a total of US$77.2 million to date        

Switzerland:  CHF 6 million/US$6 million, first-time contribution

UK (DFID): GBP 85 million/US$106 million, reaching a total of US$149.5 million to date                         

USA (USAID/PRM): US$12 million, reaching a total US$33 million to date

PRIVATE SECTOR

The LEGO Foundation: US$12.5 million, first-time contribution

ProFuturo: Contributions to multi-year resilience programmes in-country to reach a total of 650,000 children

Photos

UNGA 2019 - Leave No One Behind

Videos

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Note to Editors:

About Education Cannot Wait (ECW):

ECW is the first global, multi-lateral fund dedicated to education in emergencies. It was launched by international humanitarian and development aid actors, along with public and private donors, to address the urgent education needs of 75 million children and youth in conflict and crisis settings. ECW’s investment modalities are designed to usher in a more collaborative approach among actors on the ground, ensuring relief and development organizations join forces to achieve education outcomes. Education Cannot Wait is hosted by UNICEF. The Fund is administered under UNICEF’s financial, human resources and administrative rules and regulations, while operations are run by the Fund’s own independent governance structure. 

Additional information is available at www.educationcannotwait.org and www.act4educationincrisis.org

Follow us on Twitter: @EduCannotWait

For press enquiries, contact:

Anouk Desgroseilliers, adesgroseilliers@educationcannotwait.org , +1-917-640-6820

Kent Page, kpage@unicef.org, +1-917-302-1735

For any other enquiries, contact:
info@educationcannotwait.org