Speech by Prime Minister Erna Solberg at the handover of the Education Commision´s report and recommendations to the UN Secretary-General, New York 18 September 2016.
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Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
Education provides opportunities for a better life – for individuals, for communities, and for whole countries.
Through education, young boys can become what they aspire to be.
Through education, young girls can break all the glass ceilings in the world.
And through education, whole countries can take great leaps forward in their development.
That is why financing for education is so important.
And that is why it is a great pleasure to be here today for the handover of the Education Commission’s report and recommendations to the UN Secretary-General -- just a little over a year since we launched the Commission at the Education Summit in Oslo.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my co-conveners President Mutharika, President Widodo, Director-General Bokova and President Bachelet.
I would also like to thank Mr Gordon Brown for his leadership, the members of the Commission for their valuable input, and the Commission’s secretariat. Thank you also to all the advisers, researchers, youth representatives and others who contributed to the final result.
The findings and recommendations are not only the concern of the education community.
The report’s important findings should also be brought to the attention of heads of state and government. And finance ministers.
I particularly welcome the strong case the Commission makes for why the world must invest in education as the key driver of economic growth, if we are to reach the SDGs.
We must invest more, and invest more effectively, to ensure that no one is left behind. Each and every one of us should have the same learning opportunities.
Girls’ education is especially important. We need to work much harder to ensure that the most marginalised girls also get access to quality education.
The situation in Syria has shown that the international community has done too little too late. Schools provide a sense of normality and hope, and help build skills that give young people opportunities for the future.
Education cannot wait for the conflict in Syria – or other crises – to end. We need to act now.
In terms of education financing, aid will continue to play a role, especially in the poorest countries, in fragile situations and for marginalised groups.
However, the main responsibility for education rests with national governments. Domestic resource mobilisation is the key to bridging the financing gap.
The Commission’s Learning Generation vision proposes ‘transformations’ to ensure both more investment in education and improved outcomes. The report calls for a Financing Compact for the Learning Generation.
The idea is for the international community to join forces with – and provide increased financing to – countries that commit to reforms and to investing more in education.
To ensure that the report’s recommendations are brought forward and used, Norway will finance a second phase for the Commission. This will allow discussions to take place on how to implement the recommendations and move forward.
I urge the international community to take this opportunity to engage in discussions with the Commission, and to endorse and act on its findings.
I suggest we meet again next year to discuss our progress.