Financing Education 2030

What are the implications for domestic financing?

Financing Education 2030 will require higher levels of sustained funding along with achieving equity, efficiency and effectiveness of spending. Domestic resources remain the most important source for funding education.

In order to increase and improve domestic financing for education, countries will need to:

  • Increase public funding for education: This requires diversifying or finding new sources of funding, widening the tax base, preventing tax evasion and increasing the share of the national budget allocated to education. International benchmarks recommend allocating 15- 20% of public expenditure to education and 4-6% of GDP.
  • Increase efficiency and accountability: Existing resources need to be used more efficiently, by for example improving governance and accountability.
  • Prioritize those most in need: Resources allocated to education should be used in a more equitable and targeted manner, towards those who have the greatest education needs like disadvantaged children, youth and adults, women and girls, and people in conflict-affected areas.
  • Implications for Official Development Assistance (ODA): The annual financing gap between available domestic resources and the funding necessary to meet the 2030 commitments is particularly large in low income countries, where it constitutes 42% of annual total costs.

External financing of education needs to be increased and improved, and in order to do so, education partners will need to:

  • Reverse the decline in aid to education: The fulfilment of all commitments related to ODA is crucial, including the commitment by many developed countries to achieve the target of 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) for ODA to developing countries and 0.15% to 0.2% of GNI to least developed countries.
  • Improve aid effectiveness through harmonization and better coordination: Donors, middle income countries and other partners should support the financing of Education 2030 commitments according to each country’s capacity and priorities. Donors should ensure that aid is better harmonized and coordinated and that it strengthens country ownership, systems and accountability to its citizens.
  • Improve the equity of external financing: External financing should be better targeted at supporting neglected subsectors, low income countries, and vulnerable and disadvantaged groups.
  • Target and increase aid flows to education in conflict and crisis: The 2030 Framework for Action calls for urgent humanitarian responses and increased efforts to support education in emergencies and protracted crises. Creating synergies between humanitarian and development financing can improve the effectiveness of recovery in fragile and conflict-affected states.

What are the global processes and mechanisms for financing SDG4?

  • The Financing for Development Process: The Addis Ababa Action Agenda adopted at the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (Addis Abba, 13-16 July 2015) provides a new global framework for financing sustainable development. The follow-up of the Financing for Development process is ensured through regular ECOSOC fora on Financing for Development. A UN Interagency Task Force on Financing for Development has also been set up.
  • The International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity, also known as the Education Commission, is a global initiative engaging world leaders, policy makers and researchers to develop a renewed and compelling investment case and financing pathway for achieving equal educational opportunity for children and young people. The Commission’s work builds upon the vision agreed to by world leaders in 2015 with the UN Sustainable Development Goal for education. Based on its report The Learning Generation: Investing in education for a changing world, released in 2016, the Commission has proposed the establishment of an International Finance Facility for Education (IFFEd). Civil society expressed concerns about this new mechanism.
  • Global Partnership for Education: The Global Partnership has grown out of the Fast Track Initiative (FTI) established in 2002. The GPE’s operational platform continued to focus on the value of country-owned education sector plans, supported by key stakeholders at the country level (ideally in a Local Education Group). GPE also expanded its direct technical support to country processes, through technical engagement, new guidelines, capacity development activities, and sharing of global best practices and innovations, to accommodate fragile and post-conflict countries and to include all six EFA goals while continuing emphasis on basic education. The GPE has now emerged as the second largest multilateral donor to basic and secondary education in developing countries with rapid expansion of GPE developing country partners, from 44 countries in 2010 to 65 in 2017, of which 29 are fragile or conflict-affected. To join the Global Partnership, countries make domestic commitments to credible sector plans and to enhance domestic financing, like in the 2018 Dakar Conference. The GPE is the main founder of the Civil Society Education Fund managed by the GCE.
  • Education Cannot Wait’ (ECW) fund: The 2015 Oslo Summit on Education for Development called for the creation of a joint global effort to mobilise collective action and significant funding for education in emergencies. ECW was launched in 2016 to better meet the educational needs of 75 millions of children and young people worst affected by crises and conflict around the world. It is the first global fund to prioritise education in humanitarian action. By bringing together public and private partners, ECW provides rapid emergency support and helps countries get back on track to longer-term planning finance.

Source: UNESCO’s Unpacking Sustainable Development Goal 4