Representatives of donor governments met for an informal discussion and exchange of experience on Education in Emergencies (EiE) financing on Friday, 11 November. The talk was co-hosted by the Permanent Delegation of the European Union in Geneva, the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations in Geneva and the Geneva Global Hub for Education in Emergencies (EiE Hub).
The meeting served the purpose of sharing information and fostering reflection among donor countries on recent trends, challenges and recommendations related to EiE financing. In recent years, EiE has remained underfunded as needs increase faster than funding allocated to EiE. Among others, the European Union shared insights on the process that allowed them to substantially increase their proportion of funding for EiE from 1% in 2015 to 10% in 2019 as part of their humanitarian budget.
Strong political commitment to EiE, support from parliament and a wide outreach with different stakeholders were identified as key factors in increasing visibility and funding for EiE. Several participants highlighted the fact that there were many ways to contribute, for instance from a protection perspective by signing and implementing the Safe Schools Declaration. The International Parliamentary Network for Education (IPNEd) also emphasised the role of parliamentarians in influencing the agenda on EiE financing.
This event is a contribution to ongoing discussions around EiE financing which are ongoing through this year and into the next, such as the EiE Hub’s Financing Report launch and others. This meeting comes at an especially important moment, in between the Transforming Education Summit (TES) in September 2022, which produced the Call to Action on Education in Crisis Situations, and the Education Cannot Wait (ECW) High-Level Financing Conference on 16-17 February 2023 – co-hosted by ECW and Switzerland, and co-convened by Colombia, Germany, Niger, Norway and South Sudan. Several participants confirmed their attendance at HLFC and announced their intention to pledge.
The EiE Hub concluded that children, youth and their families caught in crisis demand education, and we must be accountable to them. And we do have evidence of the scale of needs. All countries can contribute to solutions and make commitments of support that equal those needs. To truly operationalise the nexus, we need to increase education systems’ ability to pre-empt and withstand the effects of future crises, recognize education as a life-saving intervention in humanitarian emergencies, and act accordingly. Sufficient funding, and effective solutions including crisis-affected and displaced children and youth, are required.
The meeting participants will continue to engage on this topic before, during and after the HLFC, ensuring that EiE remains high on the international agenda – both for the direct importance of EiE to achieving SDG4 in humanitarian settings, and in view of the follow-on benefits to children and youth’s holistic well-being from investing in EiE.