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Resource mobilisation and aid effectiveness: taking stock of FTI experience

 

Kailash Satyarthi, GCE President, 30 November 2005

 

Honourable Director General, Princess of Thailand, Heads of States, Ministers and leaders, and our kind hosts The People's Republic of China, I thank you for the opportunity to speak on this important subject. GCE has been a critical friend of FTI since its inception, and we come to this meeting with cautious optimism that this year will finally see it reach its full potential.

 

We are delighted with the new deal that has been reached in Kenya, and that a grant of just $3.5 million from the FTI's Catalytic Fund is helping 70,000 more children attend school in Nicaragua and enabling 200,000 extra pupils to benefit from a school meal, but we feel that much more is possible if we can use 2005 as a springboard for upscaled action."

I bring here the aspirations, dreams and demands of millions of children of the world of whom 5 million participated in our campaign “Send My Friend TO School” during the Global Action Week this year, as well as, the child advocates from around 30 countries who took part in the Second Children's World Congress on Child Labour and Education organised by Global March Against Child Labour in New Delhi this September. They have empathetically said “NO” to exploitation of children in any form and child labour in particular. They demanded free and compulsory education for all. The children of the world categorically asked the world leaders, some of you are present here, that if there is any financial deficit in the realisation of their rights to education. It is the collective responsibility of the international community. Children themselves are not responsible for the financial deficits.

 

However, GCE has noted with pleasure the increased political profile given to free universal basic education at the milestone events of 2005. We recognise that 2005 has seen a number of positive steps forward for accelerating action for Education For All (EFA).  The encouraging reports are not only presented by fast growing economies like India, China and Brazil, but more importantly from poor countries like Bangladesh, Nigeria and Burkina Faso. I would like to underline again that we have already missed the gender parity goal and to my opinion the biggest obstacle was domestic labour and household chores where girls are engaged in. everybody is referring to this failure but who is going to take the responsibility. Who is going to own the future course of action, I question.

 

We must remind you all that while we welcome the progress that has been made – for example, 17 million more African children have enrolled in school in the last five years – we also know that we are still moving too slowly. Aid to basic education in is still hovering somewhere below the $1.7 billion mark, leaving us far short of the $7 billion that the Global Monitoring Report calculates to be the total external financing required, let alone the $10 billion now considered by the UK government, among others, to be a more realistic estimate. This is nothing but two and a half days of military expense. This is also a fifth of what Europeans spend on cosmetic. We keep on reading with shame that we still build nuclear submarines, one of which costs more than the aggregate educational budget of 23 least developed countries with 160 million children.

 

On the other hand, current rates of progress in enrolling more children in school still need to double in South Asia and quadruple in Africa, in order to reach the 2015 goal of providing all children with a complete primary education of good quality. We must remind you that every day that we delay, tens of millions of children wake up to child labour, to poverty, to hunger, to sickness and at greater risk of HIV/AIDS. As we have heard, the 2006 GMR draws our attention to the scandalous situation that leaves 770 million adults – more than half of them women, living in ignorance and illiteracy. These adults have been left behind by the failure of the world to guarantee them an education. The strategic decisions reached in 2005 make this year a key opportunity to breathe new life into the notion of the global compact enshrined during the World Conference on Education For All five years ago so that no more generations grow up without getting an education.

 

Where does FTI fit into the picture? GCE believes that, despite limitations, it remains the best option for realising the global partnership envisaged at Dakar. As a senior advisor to one G8 Finance Minister recently put it 'If FTI didn't exist, we'd have to invent it.' This is because in order to reach the EFA and MDG goals, the world must stop doing business as usual.

 

Business as usual hasn't worked. Business as usual means that this year we missed the first MDG and EFA target of achieving gender equality in education, meaning that nine million girls who would otherwise have had the chance to go to school are still left waiting at the school gates. Business as usual has led to proliferation of small fragmented projects, repatriation of aid via foreign consultancies, and countries left unable to plan for the future due to the short-termism of aid promises. Business as usual is why, with just 3 or 4 years to go before year 1 intakes must reach 100% GERs, there are still one hundred million children out of school.  

 

Yet have to acknowledge that the experience of FTI thus far has been mixed. We are delighted with the new deal that has been reached in Kenya, and that a grant of just $3.5 million from the FTI's Catalytic Fund is helping 70,000 more children attend school in Nicaragua and enabling 200,000 extra pupils to benefit from a school meal, but we feel that much more is possible if we can use 2005 as a springboard for upscaled action. We must note in this regard that this year has also seen some disappointments:

  • The ambitious expansion programme set out last year has not come to fruition – just five extra countries have been approved this year when the target was to endorse plans in an extra 25.
  • Slow resource mobilisation from implementing their plans to provide every child with a quality education. We are still short of some $500 million in funds for the first round of countries to receive FTI endorsement, and this has a very real impact. For example, according to donors' own projections, in 2005 nearly 180,000 additional children could already have been enrolled in school if Niger had received the full amounts promised by FTI donors on time.

 

We know that the last few years have not been wasted – much work has gone into refining FTI's approach and instruments so that it now resembles the Rolls Royce of multilateral aid mechanisms. However, this is a finely-tuned engine without any gas in the tank. This has got to change and quickly if we are not to see new aid evaporate and country goodwill towards FTI dissipate. Indeed, we believe that FTI still remains the only real tangible way forward for realising the global compact. It would be a shame to waste the valuable work that has made FTI a model approach for realising not only the EFA goals but the MDG/ Poverty Reduction Strategy approach as a whole.

 

Ways forward for FTI

  • FTI must become the instrument of choice for disbursement of additional aid spends pledged during 2005. It must make clear its added-value by demonstrably mobilising $2-3 billion within the next year – as recommended by Paul Wolfowitz at the World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings. This may require the use of innovative financing mechanisms and we exhort the FTI Partners Meeting to consider how it might capture the increasing international interest in launching such mechanisms.
  • FTI should explicitly encourage poor countries to plan over a ten-year time horizon and expect donors to fund over a similar period. Such strategies should encourage multi-sectoral partnerships including inter-ministerial co-operation.
  • FTI donors must align behind country plans and not impose their mandate on the recipient countries.
  • FTI must reward countries that plan to abolish user fees and increase the supply of professionally-trained teachers
  • FTI must demonstrate success by reaching out to countries with big education challenges and substantial financing gaps.
  • Reforming governance is critical – the time for FTI to be a cosy donor club is over, it must be inclusive of developing country governments and civil society at the global level. Processes must hold donors to account for their behaviour as well as developing countries
  • FTI is now in a position to set ambitious expansion targets – 18 in almost three years is not enough. We heard last year that 51 countries could be eligible by end of 2006 – we feel that the revised target of 29 by the end of 2006 is too modest. A target of 40-50 would be appropriately ambitious.
  • FTI must broaden its scope to unambiguously support the whole EFA agenda

 

FTI is perhaps unique in satisfying the main criteria of the Paris Declaration and in having the potential to deliver on the Monterrey Consensus and the big political declarations of this year.

 

Intervention by Kailash Satyarthi on Reaching the Marginalized : Investing in Education for Rural People to achieve EFA and MDGs

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