As the world grapples with unprecedented crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and conflicts in various regions, children are among the most vulnerable groups that are severely affected. In these circumstances, ensuring access to quality education becomes more crucial than ever.
That's why the European Commission and EU Member States, as Team Europe, have pledged €313 million to 'Education Cannot Wait', the United Nations global fund that helps reach vulnerable crisis-affected children with immediate and longer-term education support. This commitment is the largest contribution to the fund to date, signaling the EU's determination to leave no one behind in the pursuit of quality education.
The funding through 'Education Cannot Wait' aims to provide immediate and long-term support to crisis-affected children to ensure that their right to education is not compromised. The EU education investments in fragile countries during the period 2021-2027 will reach €3.2 billion, demonstrating the EU's commitment to promoting access to quality education in crisis-affected regions.
'Education Cannot Wait' is the United Nations global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises, providing education to vulnerable children and youth in 31 countries. With the new pledge from Team Europe, the fund will be able to reach more children and youth in crisis-affected areas and provide them with access to quality education. Germany is the single largest contributor to the fund with €210 million for the period 2023-2026. Other Member States contributing to the overall Team Europe pledge are Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Spain, and Italy. The Commission has also committed to providing an additional €25 million for 2023-2027.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented disruptions to education systems around the world, with an estimated 1.6 billion learners affected by school closures. For children in crisis-affected areas, the pandemic has made accessing education even more challenging. With this pledge, the EU demonstrates its commitment to ensuring that children in crisis-affected areas have access to quality education and are not left behind.
The EU is committed to accelerating progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) on quality education. The EU institutions and Member States together contribute more than half of all global aid to education, supporting the education sector in more than 100 countries worldwide. The EU's investment in education aims to promote access to quality education, including for the most vulnerable, and to strengthen education systems in partner countries.
In conclusion, the EU's pledge to 'Education Cannot Wait' is a significant investment in promoting access to quality education for children in crisis-affected areas. It demonstrates the EU's commitment to leaving no one behind in the pursuit of quality education and its determination to accelerate progress towards SDG 4. The EU's investment in education is an investment in the future of these children and their communities, and it is a powerful demonstration of solidarity with the most vulnerable in our global community.