Financing for education in emergencies coming up short in the wake of COVID-19

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Patricia Danzi- Photo Credit: Initiatives of Change Switzerland

It’s time to reinvest to meet the growing education needs post covid-19

Funding for education in emergencies (EiE) is far from meeting the needs of millions of school-aged children and youth affected by crises and requiring education support.

This is the conclusion of a new report released today by the Geneva Global Hub on EiE at an event hosted by the UN Permanent Missions of Switzerland and Niger. For the first time, the report provides a comprehensive assessment of the multiple different funding sources for EiE.

In 2021, humanitarian funding for EiE reached a record level of $807 million. But, with needs growing even quicker because of conflict, climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic, this was insufficient to provide millions of children with safe, inclusive, and quality education.

Across UN-led humanitarian appeals, the education sector was just 22% funded in 2021 – half what it was in 2018. Despite increased awareness of the problem, EiE continues to be an under-appreciated and under-funded part of humanitarian responses.
In a statement made today by Patricia Danzi, Director General of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), she affirmed that “as a global community, we are committed to achieving SDG4 ensuring the right to education for all children and youth. Yet, the reality is that we are currently falling behind in reaching this goal.  In this context, I cannot overstate the importance of this new report on the current state of global financing for Education in Emergencies. The flagship report offers avenues to address the significant funding gap in EiE.”
On their part, the report author Damian Lilly reiterated the fact that “too often, education funding is skewed towards high-profile crises that either have received extensive media coverage or are geopolitically important to donors. More needs to be done to address the inequities and unpredictability of education funding, so all children have access to the education they deserve.”
A more joined-up approach between humanitarian funding and development cooperation for EiE is
also needed. Official development assistance for education in crisis countries reached $5.7 billion in
2020, more than eight times the level of humanitarian assistance. This can be leveraged further to
support better learning outcomes for children, but that will only happen with greater coordination
between all education actors to make sure the limited funding available for EiE is allocated to where
it is needed most.
With the UN hosting a Transforming Education Summit (TES) in September, there needs to be
a stronger political commitment to EiE. And these key recommendations for EiE financing will be
important in the leadup to the next High-Level Financing Conference for Education Cannot Wait
(ECW), which ECW Director Yasmine Sherif announced will take place in February 2023. Donors will
be asked to make specific commitments to fund EiE, and the recommendations in this report should
be reflected in those commitments.
“We are calling on world leaders, donors, the private sector, and philanthropic foundations to step up
with the absolute fierce urgency of now to respond to this crisis of epic proportions,” said Sherif.
“Our investment in education today – for girls and boys caught in protracted crises and emergencies
– is our investment in the dreams and hopes of each of these children, and in a more peaceful, more
prosperous and humane world tomorrow. Without substantial additional, predictable, and flexible
funding to immediately scale up the support for safe, continuing, inclusive quality education for girls
and boys caught in the most challenging crisis contexts, we will not achieve Sustainable Development
Goal 4 (SDG) and all other SDGs.”
Download the Press Release below:

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