The countdown has started: 3 months to the GPE Financing Conference

November 3, 2017
by Milagros Lechleiter, Global Education Associate

On February 2, 2018, global leaders will convene in Dakar, Senegal for the 3rd Global Partnership for Education financing conference and raise together US3.1 bn. In an unprecedented moment, President Sal of Senegal and Macron of France will lead the first financing conference to be co-hosted by and to take place in a developing country.

During the 2nd GPE financing conference in 2014, developing countries were the main funders of education with total contributions adding up to US$26 billion – ten times more than donors’ contributions.  For the upcoming 2018 GPE financing conference, civil society is calling developing country governments to sustain and increase this commitment by pledging to spend 20% of their national budgets in education, to make this commitment transparent and credible, and to ensure education expenditure reaches the most marginalized children. Through a ten-point plan, the Compact on Domestic Financing of Education seeks to support organizations and national coalitions in developing countries ahead of their pledges at the GPE financing conference. The plan has been endorsed by RESULTS Educational Fund.


The 10-point plan:

  1. Making pledges early to leverage greater commitments from donors. Developing country governments can show dynamic and inspirational leadership by making their own commitments to finance education, and then call on donors to build on their efforts
  2. Approving commitments at the highest level –  ensuring that all pledges of increased financing to education are approved by Heads of State and Ministers of Finance. The commitments should be made explicit in relevant annual budget and medium-term expenditure documents
  3. Announcing domestically first –  new finance commitments to education should be heard first by national citizens before being made as formal pledges to the GPE.
  4.  Ensuring commitments are credible – with clear baseline data, clearly expressed targets and a commitment to track and report on them over time in a fully transparent way.
  5. Increasing the share of budgets for education – countries should pledge to maintain their budget share at or above 20% – and if present spending falls short of this the pledge should include ambitious steps to increase it.
  6. Increasing the size of budgets overall – for countries which already spend 20% of the budget on education, financing commitments to education could be made in the form of ambitious steps to expand domestic revenues through action to expand the tax base in progressive ways (targeting a tax to GDP ratio of at least 20%).
  7. Increasing the sensitivity of budgets – countries might frame a pledge to spend their education budgets with a greater attention to equity, inclusion and quality.
  8. Increasing the scrutiny of budgets – action to ensure budgets are transparent and funds are tracked independently (including with help from civil society) can help to ensure that new resources are converted into real delivery on the ground. The primary accountability for effective use of funding should always be of governments to their own citizens.
  9. Adding to the collective voice for education –  we urge developing country governments to use any sub-regional, regional or international forums to come together and vocalize their support for greater investment in education – making a collective call to donors to deliver on their side of the GPE compact.
  10. Adding to the collective call for global tax reforms – There is a growing call for a democratic inter-governmental body that is fully resourced and empowered to set and enforce global tax rules. Urgent action is needed to find ways to tax revenues deposited in tax havens, to set up a global wealth tax or a financial transactions tax.

Developing countries are central to education financing. The International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity estimated that 97% of the financial resources needed to achieve SDG4 by the year 2030 will come from Developing countries’ budgets. Donors are also crucial to ensure all children receive quality education. Last week, the 2017/8 GEM report called education a shared endeavor, civil society looks forward to the GPE financing conference in 3 months as an opportunity for developing and donor countries to show their shared commitment to education.

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