A two-day fundraising conference beginning in Brussels tomorrow (25 June) aims at raising a minimum of €2.6 billion over the next three years to boost primary education in developing countries, the European Commission announced today (24 June). 

The Second Global Partnership for Education Replenishment Pledging Conference, hosted by the European Commission, will gather more than 600 leading experts in education and development, including 40 ministers of education, Alexandre Polack, spokesperson to Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, announced.

He said that the event will seek to tackle the “unacceptable” reality that 57 million children, more than half of them girls, remain out of school, and that far more – 250 million – are in school, but not getting the quality education they deserve.   

Polack stated that the EU is the biggest donor of the Global Partnership for Education, and that the hosts will appeal to the other participants to make pledges that respond to these challenges.

Asked by EurActiv to spell out the amount to be committed by the EU Commission, Polack said that the figure will be announced by Piebalgs during the conference.

He said that thanks to EU efforts, 14 million children have gotten access to education over the last 10 years. If the conference is successful, it would be able to give access to schooling to a further 30 million of children, the spokesperson added.

Many VIPs will attend the conference, starting with Julia Gillard, a former Prime Minister of Australia, who leads the Global Partnership for Education, a platform between donors and developing countries, to ensure progress toward the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education.

Among the others are the Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo Augustin Matata Ponyo, the Director General of UNESCO Irina Bokova, the Executive Director of UNICEF Anthony Lake, Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education and former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Kristalina Georgieva, and others.

The Event will begin on the afternoon of 25 June with a high-level discussion, hosted by UNICEF and UNESCO, on post-2015 goals for education, followed by an opening plenary and reception, hosted by the Government of Denmark. On 26 June, all the participating entities will announce their financial pledges to the GPE Fund and to basic education, and there will be many parallel sessions on trends and top priorities for global education.