An update from Brussels & the Global Partnership for Education pledging conference

July 1, 2014
by Allison Grossman, Senior Legislative Associate

For months, RESULTS volunteers across the United States and around the world have been building support for the Global Partnership for Education and its work supporting quality education for all children. On June 26, the Global Partnership raised a total of $2.1 billion from donors, a good start toward fulfilling its replenishment target of $3.5 billion for the period of 2015-2018. These resources will impact millions of children’s lives for years to come.

In Brussels, representatives from USAID announced that the U.S. will contribute $40 million to GPE in fiscal year 2014. Later in the day, back in the United States, USAID Administrator Raj Shah announced that the Administration will work with Congress to contribute $50 million to GPE in fiscal year 2015.

While the total number—$90 million over two years—does fall short of the RESULTS request of $250 million over two years, it does show positive progress. The $40 million contribution in 2014 will represent a doubling of the previous year's U.S. contribution to GPE ($20 million in fiscal year 2013). These announcements also illustrate that the U.S. is now making annual contributions to GPE, and that the contributions are increasing from year to year.

These gains would not have been possible without the tireless advocacy of RESULTS grassroots over the past several months and, indeed, the past few years. We know that the U.S. was paying attention to the many pieces of media generated, to outreach from members of Congress, and to grasstops efforts. We know we were heard, and we know that the U.S. pledge of $90 million over two years would not have happened without RESULTS grassroots work.

Over the past several months, our grassroots helped generate over 100 pieces of media in support of global education and the Global Partnership for Education. Remarkably, this included 20 editorials in papers across the United States.

We also worked to generate a letter to President Obama, led by Congresswoman Schakowsky, and volunteers succeeded in securing an unprecedented 81 members of Congress to join the call for a U.S. pledge of $250 million over two years. At least four additional members, including three Republicans, sent individual letters to the President expressing their support for the Global Partnership for Education. Volunteers led a successful call-in day to the White House, and publicized a letter from the UN Secretary-General's MDG Advocacy Group to the leadership of the G-7.

These campaign pieces and more were essential to motivating the U.S. to more than double its current contribution to the Global Partnership in 2015. I want to thank everyone for the commitment, persistence, and dedication to this work and to reaching education for all children around the world. We should be proud of the financial commitments from the U.S. that our work helped to achieve.

We also know that we're not finished. We have made progress toward our target of a contribution from the U.S. of $125 million per year—but we still have a long way to go. 

We must continue our work with Congress to ensure that the announced funds are appropriated in 2015 and are increased as we head into the 2016 appropriations process.

We will also continue to advocate to the Administration to increase total funding available and to build support for GPE. It is important to note that the divided announcement from the U.S. in Brussels and then later in the U.S. yesterday meant that the commitment of $50 million in 2015, which is the first year of the new replenishment period, came after the pledging conference actually ended. This means that while the additional U.S. contribution will be incorporated into the overall amount later on, the $50 million is not reflected in GPE's press release or preliminary outcomes document. We do see this as a missed opportunity for the U.S. to join the world in displaying its support for GPE and to leverage other donor contributions throughout the day, as pledges were announced in Brussels.

Moving forward, we will continue to work to strengthen the Global Partnership itself. No institution is perfect, but GPE is taking important steps to strengthen results, to improve transparency, and to build technical capacity. RESULTS has and will continue to push GPE to improve its operations and impact, and we will keep you informed as we move ahead.

I also wanted to pass along a few other highlights from the pledging conference:

First, at the conference, RESULTS affiliates in Australia, Canada, the UK, and the U.S. jointly pledged their own support to the goals of the Global Partnership for Education, committing to double the resources we allocate to basic education advocacy, and to work with partners in the global South and North to improve oversight and accountability on education. You can read our pledge online here.

Next, the UK announced a commitment of 300 million pounds, or more than $500 million over the four year pledging period—a huge contribution that shows the UK's continued leadership. However, it also comes with a cap, stating that the UK can provide no more than 15 percent of donor contributions. This means that the U.S. and others must step up to provide approximately $3 billion during the replenishment period to ensure that the UK can deliver its full contribution.

The European Union, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark joined the UK in leading donor pledges to GPE. Others, like Canada, reinforced their commitment but have not yet announced specific pledge amounts. And for the first time, two private foundations also contributed to GPE. You can see a full list of the pledges made yesterday on GPE's website.

Finally, developing country partners showed an amazing level of commitment by pledging a total of $26 billion for their own domestic financing for education, an increase of 25 percent from 2015-2018. This amount vastly exceeded the original expectation of $16 billion. This is truly a powerful display of leadership from developing country partners in building their own education systems, and shows the extent to which they are prioritizing the delivery of the right to education for their children. 

Thank you for your commitment and the change you’re helping make in U.S. support for the Global Partnership for Education.

See the RESULTS press release on the Global Partnership for Education pledging conference here.

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