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Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen
Investing in education is the most important thing we can do to promote sustainable development.
Giving all boys and girls in all countries a high-quality education is the best investment we can make for the future.
We have made progress. More children go to school today than just a few years ago.
But we still have a very long way to go before we can give every child a quality education. There are at least 250 million children not in school today.
Let me highlight three points that I consider vital for our efforts in the time ahead:
Firstly, national ownership is key:
National governments have the main responsibility for increasing access to education – and for ensuring its quality.
In a number of countries, particularly in Africa, there is growing momentum to invest in education.
We must do our utmost to support the leaders of these countries.
Secondly, education must be inclusive and innovative:
All boys and girls deserve a free, quality education.
This includes the poorest, minorities, children with disabilities, and children in wars and conflict-affected areas.
We also need innovative approaches and new technology.
Governments, the private sector and civil society must join forces to make technology a driver for inclusive learning and equal opportunities.
Thirdly, we must increase financing for education:
Norway has doubled its support to education over the last four years. This has provided learning opportunities for more than three million boys and girls annually.
Norway and its partners established the Education Cannot Wait fund to bridge the gap between humanitarian aid and long- term development assistance.
We encourage more donors to support this fund.
We also encourage more donors to support the Global Partnership for Education. Norway is among the three biggest contributors to GPE. In the upcoming replenishment conference we will reconfirm and strengthen our support.
The Education Commission’s outstanding report managed to re-kindle a strong political interest in education around the world. The report shows that the education goal can be reached. And how important this goal is for all the other SDGs.
I would like to pay a special tribute to you, Gordon Brown, for the invaluable work you have done as chair. I would also like to commend all the members of the Commission and its Secretariat for having achieved so much in such a short space of time. I know that we can continue to count on you to be spokespeople for all the millions of children who are being denied their right to education.
The work to implement the Commission’s recommendations will continue. An important milestone was reached in July when the leaders of the G20 agreed to put education financing on the agenda. In this context we particularly welcome and support the proposal endorsed by the Secretary General to establish an International Finance Facility for Education.
Let me conclude by stressing that education is a universal right and crucial for ensuring equal opportunities for all.
Education offers the key to a better life for millions of children worldwide: a life with less poverty and better health.
We must increase our investments in education now, for the sake of future generations.