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Canadian organizations welcome G7 commitment on girls’ education, and call for funding to back ambition

A leading coalition of Canadian education organizations, the Canadian International Education Policy Working Group (CIEPWG), welcomes the newly announced G7 Declaration, Girls Education: The Heart of COVID-19 Recovery and Unlocking Agenda 2030. Launched at the G7 Foreign and Development Ministerial meeting, the Declaration includes clear commitments to address the challenges faced by children around the world – especially girls – in accessing a safe, inclusive, and quality education. CIEPWG welcomes the ambitious Declaration, and calls for additional funding to put these new political commitments into action.

Canada can be proud of its role in catalyzing this important momentum. In 2018, Canada, alongside its civil society partners, also mobilized the G7 and other donors on the issue of global education by launching the historic Charlevoix Declaration. We welcome Minister Gould’s continued support for the world’s most vulnerable learners, including girls, refugees and displaced children. But in order to be successful, the targets set out in the new Ministerial Declaration must be backed by significant financial commitments from G7 leaders, including Canada.

We are witnessing an unprecedented global education emergency, at the same time as Canada’s $400mn funding contribution to girls’ education made in Charlevoix is quickly running out. Over one year into the pandemic, close to half of the world’s students are still affected by school closures, and it is estimated that up to 20 million girls will never resume their education. This is in addition to the hundreds of millions of children who were already out of school before COVID-19.

While governments are facing increased financial pressures as a result of COVID-19, Canada must hold firm in its commitment to ensure that the most vulnerable children can realize their right to a quality education. Failure to do so means jeopardizing the futures of the world’s most marginalized children and youth. We know what to do to help children return to school, catch up on learning and thrive. But achieving these goals require political will and adequate funding.

The time has never been more urgent to turn words into action. We call on Canada to commit new and additional resources to education at the upcoming Leaders’ Summit in Cornwall, UK in June, and to encourage its G7 counterparts to do the same. More specifically, Canada should follow through on its commitment to provide CAD$150 million per year over three years to support education for refugees and internally displaced children, as articulated in the 2019 Liberal Party platform. As part of Canada’s continued commitment to education, we also encourage Canada to invest at least CAD$500 million over the next five years to the Global Partnership for Education. The GPE is aiming to mobilize at least $5bn dollars from donors to transform education systems for more than 1 billion girls and boys.

Education is not only a fundamental human right, but it is also a critical enabler to all other sustainable development goals. For Canada to deliver on its own Feminist International Assistance Policy, as well as the newly launched Together for Learning Campaign, Canada must increase its investments in education. The return on investment is too high to ignore. Education is the key that unlocks health, well-being, gender equality and economic prosperity for the next generation of children, their communities, and the world.

The Canadian International Education Policy Working Group is a coalition of international development, humanitarian and advocacy organizations working to support policies and programs to improve access to safe, inclusive, quality education for all children and youth. It is currently co-Chaired by Right To Play International and UNICEF Canada.

CIEPWG members are Canadian Feed the Children, Canadian Teachers Federation, Children Believe, CODE, Global Citizen, Grandmothers Advocacy Network (GRAN), ONE Canada, Plan International Canada, Results Canada, Right To Play, Save the Children Canada, SOS Children’s Villages, War Child Canada, UNICEF Canada, World Vision Canada and World University Service of Canada.