Education Must Be Put Front and Centre on the G7 Agenda

By Yasmine Sherif
NEW YORK, May 17 2023 (IPS-Partners)

At this year’s G7 Hiroshima Summit in Japan, world leaders will have a chance to “uphold the international order based on the rule of law and extend outreach to the Global South.” Education, as a binding force that unites us all in our global efforts to protect human rights and ensure sustainable development, should be front and centre on the G7 Agenda.

Through the ground-breaking leadership of Japan, the G7 Summit promises to address a number of interconnected global crises – including nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, economic resilience and security, climate and energy, food, health and development. By investing in education in emergencies and protracted crises through multilateral organizations such as Education Cannot Wait – the UN global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises – the G7 has an opportunity to make targeted and responsive investments to these interconnected crises.

During my recent high-level mission to Japan, I was impressed and inspired by the Government of Japan’s growing interest in supporting ECW and our partners in delivering on our four-year strategic plan. In lead up to the G7 Summit, we call on Japan and all G7 global leaders to ensure that funding for education in emergencies is prioritized. There is no greater investment in our shared future.

Education is a key driver in building economic resilience, social cohesion and human security. By investing in an educated, skilled workforce, we are investing in greater economic growth, peace and security today and well into the future. Education for girls is especially critical. Every US$1 spent on girls’ rights and education generates US$2.80 in return. This is equivalent to billions of dollars in additional GDP.

By 2050, as many as 140 million people across South Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America could be displaced by climate change. By connecting climate action with education action, we have the opportunity to reduce risk, build resilience, and protect our planet from the life-threatening impacts of massive flooding, temperature rises, rising seas and other climate catastrophes.

The war in Ukraine has made the food crisis even more dangerous and painful, especially in places like Africa where recurrent droughts and other climate-related crises are triggering spikes in hunger and displacement. School feeding is essential in responding to famine and achieving our goals for a world without hunger, and good health and well-being for every girl and every boy on the planet. These are their inherent human rights, and this is our international obligation.

In taking a human-centred approach to sustainable development, we must ensure children receive holistic education opportunities, including mental health and psychosocial services, safe and protective learning environments, access to health and hygiene, and other whole-of-child solutions that will nurture the leaders of tomorrow.

By investing in education – especially for the 222 million crisis-affected girls and boys who are left furthest behind in armed conflicts, forced displacement and climate-disasters – the leaders of the G7 have an opportunity to make a mark on history and build a new world order based on universal values and human rights.


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ECW Executive Director Yasmine Sherif Statement in advance of the G7 Hiroshima Summit