Learn how the World Bank Group is helping countries with COVID-19 (coronavirus). Find Out

Speeches & Transcripts

Transcript: Learning for All: Ministerial Roundtable

April 18, 2013

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Special Envoy for Education Gordon Brown and representatives from countries and development organizations. WB/IMF Spring Meetings 2013 Washington, DC, United States

Transcript

DR. KIM: Thank you, everybody.

Mr. Secretary-General, Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to welcome all of you to this important and timely discussion on "Learning for All."

I also want to acknowledge our global online audience.

I am pleased to be leading this important meeting with the Secretary-General in behalf of his Global Education First Initiative, and UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown.  I want to thank both of them for their leadership and tireless commitment to education.

We are here today because there is a global learning crisis that requires urgent action.  Learning is one of the most important driving factors for economic growth.  It is at least as vital to fostering a dynamic economy as investing in infrastructure or energy.

Countries need a work force that has the skills and competencies necessary to keep farms and factories producing, create jobs, fuel innovation and country competitiveness, and drive inclusive economic growth.

Addressing the learning crisis is essential to ending extreme poverty and building shared prosperity.  It will require leadership from finance and development ministers as well as education ministers.

We will provide strong support, and strong support will also be required from all the development partners around this table.

Since 1990, targeted actions by a number of countries in the development partners has helped reduce by half the number of out-of-school children around the world.  This is tremendous progress.  Yet 61 million children today are not in school.  Nearly half of those children live in countries represented at this table.

Today we reaffirm our collective commitment to achieving the Millennium Development Goals for universal primary education by 2015.  But as we work together to frame the post-2015 global development vision, we need to approach the issue of education with greater ambition.

There is abundant evidence that too many children leave school without acquiring the knowledge and skills they need to secure good jobs, lead productive lives, and care for themselves and their families.

So we must urgently close the gap both in school access and in learning outcomes.  Our vision is that this should be the first generation in history in which every child, regardless of gender, country, or family circumstances, is able to go to school and learn.

The greatest learning gaps appear among children from marginalized groups, particularly girls, who live in extreme poverty, in slums, in remote communities, in fragile and conflict-affected states, who are from ethnic minorities and lower castes, and children with disabilities.

Reaching these children will require new and innovative efforts to mitigate the leading causes of disadvantage.

From the World Bank, we think some of the key steps must include increased investments in early childhood development programs to ensure that all children enter school ready to learn.  Ninety percent of brain development occurs before age 5.  The lack of proper nutrition or stimulation in these early years, particularly from pregnancy to age 2, has lifelong negative impacts on a child's ability to learn, grow, and contribute to society.

Also, to ensure that children acquire the basic skills necessary to continue learning by the time they complete basic education.  This is our second pillar.  We need to make schooling count and have higher ambition for our children's education.

To compete in today's global economy, our children need the tools to become lifelong learners.

Three, establish a credible national or international assessment system to measure competencies at each level of education.  Reliable, monitorable learning data will shed light on where education resources are most needed and the most effective use of those resources.

Finally, ensure that education systems are resilient in the face of crises and fragile situations.  In many countries, natural disasters and armed conflicts have disrupted children's learning by destroying classrooms, taking students out of school, increasing disabilities, reducing the number of teachers.

Emergency support is critical, but the education system must also be rebuilt with a specific aim to facilitate the process of recovery.

But none of these crucial steps can happen unless the vision of learning for all becomes a priority in national development plans and domestic budgeting, with governments placing due emphasis on quality education as an essential investment in a country's competitiveness, job creation, and economic growth.

Bilateral and multilateral development assistance also has a critical role to play, including through the World Bank's International Development Association, or IDA, and the Global Partnership for Education.  And I would like to welcome Alice Albright, who is our new leader of the Global Partnership for Education.

At the World Bank, we are doing our part.  Almost three years ago, the Bank pledged to increase IDA financing for basic education by an additional $750 million over five years.  I am proud to report today that we have already exceeded that target a full two years ahead of schedule, and we will continue to push to do more.

Today I am also pleased to announce that as a key part of our "Learning for All" strategy, the Bank is releasing the first 20 Country Diagnostic Reports produced through our new Systems Approach for Better Education Results, or SABER, program.  These programs using our new SABER database and analytic tools, developed with many partners in this room, will help countries put the right policies and systems in place to measure student performance and address other issues essential to learning, to benchmark their progress against other countries and hold governments and schools accountable for results.

We will be delivering a total of 100 such assessments by July of this year.

We are also setting up a new umbrella facility for this important work to improve learning.  I am pleased to say today that AusAID plans to be a founding member of this partnership, and we look forward to others joining us.

Now we want to hear from all of you.  What will it take to ensure that every child can go to school and learn?  What priority actions for governments, and what can development partners do?

First, I would like to invite the United Nations Secretary-General to say a few words, but before that, just one quick thing.  I am told that this is the first time that, at a meeting of the World Bank with finance ministers, we have had education ministers sitting around the table to discuss this important issue.  And in that context, we are so proud and honored to have the Secretary-General here with us today.

SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON: Thank you, President Kim and the World Bank for inviting us to this very important meeting together with ministers of finance and education.  I think this is the first time that the United Nations and the World Bank have been in such a structured way to address many important problem issues.  We are now talking about education.

Your Highness Sheikha Moza, Your Excellency Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe of Haiti, Distinguished Ministers of Finance and Education, UN Special Enjoy Gordon Brown, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen.

I am pleased to join my two co-hosts, Special Envoy Gordon Brown and President Jim Yong Kim of the World Bank, in welcoming you to this "Learning for All" Ministerial Roundtable.  I take you all for coming and participating in this meeting.

I am inspired by this unprecedented gathering.  Here in this room, we have heads of government, education ministers, finance ministers, and development partners.  Your presence sends a message about our strong resolve to make quality education a reality for all.

The eight developing countries represented here are home to nearly half the world's out-of-school children and youth.  Progress in your countries can tip the balance in reaching our global goals, and we are here to identify concrete actions to ensure that all children and young people have access to school and quality learning by the year 2015.

This is also the proposal of the Global Education First Initiative which I launched in September last year, during the General Assembly, out of my deeply-held faith in the power of education to transform the world.

Earlier this month, we marked 1,000 days until the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals.  I took that opportunity to call someone who represents better than anyone why we need to reach these Goals.

You all know Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan for her courage in the face of terrorism.  I told her that she is also a daughter of the United Nations.  Malala told me that she would work with the United Nations.  She said, and I quote:  "When we work together, we can achieve our goal, peace and happiness in this world.  And the only way to have peace in this world is education."

These wise words come from a young teenager who almost died fighting for her rights and for her right to go to school.

We are here for Malala and for the roughly 61 million people--children--who are out of school.  We are here for the hundreds of millions who do not have the right opportunities to learn.  We are here to take action for a better world--not with empty promises but with clear steps to train teachers, build classrooms, and help the disadvantaged.

Real progress depends on financial and political will and actions.  Here, I would like to emphasize the political vision of the leaders and finance ministers. After all, we are living in a world where resources are very much limited.  The key question is how and where to appropriate these limited resources.

I stress that you should focus on education.  That is why I am here.  And we need to have your political and visionary leadership.

We live in difficult financial times.  These times demand smart investment.  And there is no more valuable investment than education.

People ask me how the Republic of Korea became so strong in such a short period of time.  I answer immediately.  My answer has always been very simple and right--education.  We needed to invest in the education of our people, and they paid us back with accelerated development.  It was the United Nations who helped us during and immediately after the Korean War, when everything was devastated and destroyed.

The greatest return comes from investing in girls and women.  When they are educated, they drive development in their families, communities, and nations.

We need to transform this understanding into results.  Consultations with the countries have already identified [unclear].  Development partners are armed with ideas about supporting these efforts.

Let us use this session to build on the productive meetings held earlier today and agree on concrete action to reach our goals.  If we can leave here today with the plans in place, we can enroll half the world's out-of-school population.  This would be a tremendous accomplishment.

This meeting is a single but critical step in support of the objectives of the Global Education First Initiative to provide a quality, inclusive, and relevant education to all children. 

We have three priorities:  All children will go to school, all children will learn, and all children will become global citizens.

Today's meetings should demonstration ambition.  We must prove that we can pool our resources and muster our will in the sure knowledge that educating children now will pay dividends to whole societies for generations to come.

I thank you, and I count on your leadership.

Thank you very much.

[Applause.]

UNITED NATIONS SPECIAL ENVOY FOR EDUCATION GORDON BROWN: Since Malala Yousafzai was shot on October 10 last year simply for wanting to go to school, the demand of young people that they should have the right to education and that we should be obliged to meet the Millennium Development Goal on Universal Education has in my view grown louder and louder.

Two million people signed a position in support of the right of girls to education after Malala was shot. 

A Business Coalition for Global Education has been formed.  A faith coalition to push the case for universal education is being formed.  A youth coalition is developing at speed.

Tomorrow I will receive a petition from one million young Pakistani boys and girls who are not at school, demanding that they have the right to go to school.

And on July 12, Malala Yousafzai herself will make her first public speech at the United Nations General Assembly to make the case that every child should be in school by the end of 2015.  And she will not only make a case.  A resolution will be passed at that meeting by thousands of young people who will be present in New York on that day, demanding that world leaders take seriously their demand as young people that their right to education be met.  And I believe that the demand of young people for their right to education is becoming the civil rights issue of this generation, and we have a duty to respond.

We not only know that that is the case, but we also know, as Jim Kim and the Secretary-General have just said, that people understand now more than ever the importance of education to the success of an economy.  No country will become a high-income country and move from low- or middle-income status to high-income status unless it invests in quality education.

But we have a paradox, because just at the time when we are having to meet a deadline that education be available for all by the end of 2015, education expenditure in aid budgets is being cut.  Having stalled for three years, it is being cut.  And we are beginning to see also how cost-effective it is but also how, initially, it costs more money to reach the marginalized, those people who have been left out and who are not yet at school.

So I believe we have a huge task before us over these next few months.  People expect us in the next two years to deliver this Millennium Development Goal.  People know that there is a huge uphill task to achieve it, but they also know that there is no scientific or technological barrier to achieving that goal.  It is about political will, it is about the capacity to implement, and it is about our willingness to provide the money that is necessary to make that reform happen.

Past generations have educated and developed only some of the talent of some of the people.  This can be the first generation where we can develop all of the talent of all of the people.  And that is why, meeting today, finance ministers, education ministers, donors, recipients, all partners in delivering this Millennium Development Goal, it is important that coming out of this meeting, we are resolved that nothing will stop us meeting that Millennium Development Goal by the end of 2015.

Thank you very much.

[Applause.]

DR. KIM: Thank you, Mr. Secretary-General.  Thank you, Gordon.

There are about 50 of us sitting around the table.  We have a lot to talk about.  So I will ask Prime Minister Lamothe and Her Highness Sheikha Moza to make the first set of comments, and we will focus on the first question.

The first question, of course, is:  What will it take to get all children in school and learning, and what are some of the key bottlenecks that countries here are facing?

We have a little tool here.  It says 2 minutes on the clock.  So, when you start making remarks, it will count down, and we ask everyone to try to keep their comments brief, because we really do want to hear from everyone.

Mr. Prime Minister, please.

PRIME MINISTER LAMOTHE (HAITI): Thank you very much, President, and thank you all.

Just 23 months ago, nearly half a million children could not go to school in Haiti.  Today, because of an aggressive campaign making education one of the first priorities of this government, 300,000 of those 500,000 are currently in the school system.  We have to work on the other 200,000 to put all the kids that can go to school into the school system.

And Haiti has done something unusual in terms of being able to create a permanent funding mechanism to put these children in school.  Haiti created surcharges on phone calls and on money transfers, and these surcharges brought in an extra $50 million a year, which is currently allowing over 1.2 million children to find tuition-free school.

This has been done fairly quickly and has found the benefit of taking the children living in extreme poverty and giving them the fruit of education, giving them opportunity to become tomorrow's Haitian lawyers and doctors through the education system.

We have increased our budget for education from 20 to 23.6 percent. However, we have a number of challenges for our education system to go forward.  One of the biggest is technology.  The second one is, of course, the implementation of some of the projects, and donor coordination to make sure that the aid and the good will of the international community translates into actionable items and construction of new schools, renovation of existing schools, and general coordination.  This is one of the key challenges that we are having to implementation.

Of course, teacher training is something that is a very large challenge.  Most of the teachers that we have don't have the necessary education in order to give the quality education that we would like.  So we are earmarking a budget of about $23 million to train teachers to have better-quality education in our schools.

One of the largest, I would say, challenges that we are finding is the supervision to make sure that the coordination and all of these programs are in sync with the national curriculum that the country has.

The infrastructure is also a challenge.

So, considering the number of challenges that we have had, we focused on what we could, which was providing access to children, and that strategy is working today, along with the World Bank's Education for All Program, which is putting over 200,000.  We now have 1.5 out of 2.2, so we are greatly on our way to meeting the challenge of access for all and putting all of the primary school-age children in school today.

So we are very excited about this opportunity to come and exchange on this platform and to discuss some of the strategies certainly that work elsewhere and to see how we can bridge the gap to put all of our children in school.

One of the top priorities of my government is education for all children of Haiti.

Thank you.

DR. KIM: Thank you.

Your Highness?

HH SHEIKHA MOZA BINT NASSER (QATAR FOUNDATION): I'd like to present some solutions, if I can.

To answer your question, I think the first and the most crucial step to get all children back to school and to provide them with good learning is political will.  And our gathering here reflects this political will which was not there before.

Today we are seeing for the first time in our history the development of a global movement led by the United Nations Secretary-General.  This global movement is focusing on education first and is also recognizing the value of education to a society.

Now we need to define how to translate this into concrete results.  Today, in the country meetings, we have heard many excellent suggestions on addressing particular issues, suggestions such as conditional cash transfers.  What I hope to see resulting from this meeting is a holistic approach to getting children to school, a comprehensive approach that tackles the obstacles that prevent children from learning, an approach that not only focuses on education but also tackles poverty by creating job opportunities and the economic foundation that will enable education to be sustainable.

I believe that we need to bring new and innovative approaches to the problems education has faced for decades.  We must find new ways of working together such as partnering with employment, health, and food security agencies.  This will enable us to think outside the box and look at the issues in a more comprehensive way.  It will bring together all those who have a stake in education and also in building a healthy, functioning society.

We can overcome the challenges to overcome.  We can change the paradigm if we all make the case for education not only as a fundamental human right but also as an investment to empower societies economically.

For instance, we know that for one extra year of schooling, an individual's earnings are increased by 10 percent.  So, to build on this political will that we see here today, we must monitor the commitments made, establish action plans, set up implementation programs, and enshrine the right policy frameworks.  All of this is essential to deliver on our promise.

I think I have respected my time.

Thank you very much.

[Applause.]

DR. KIM: Thank you very much.

Let me first remind you that the question is:  What will it take to get all children in school and learning, and what are some of the key bottlenecks that countries here are facing?

So we will go to the countries that are here today for this purpose, and let me list them in order:  India, Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Yemen.

I would ask one minister from each of these countries to make brief, less-than-two-minute remarks.  And we want to keep this going, because we are going to have a conversation very soon.

Let me start with the representative from India.

INDIA: Mr. President, thank you very much, and Mr. Secretary-General, Mr. Special Envoy, thank you very much for convening today's meeting.

I am the Deputy Permanent Representative of India at the United Nations and am honored to represent the Government of India here.

Mr. President, as a country with more than a billion people, improving our human capital has got to be at the core of what we need to do for human development in our country.

We have always recognized education as fundamental to human progress and progress in our country.  The right of children to free education is guaranteed in our Constitution.  We have a Special Act which gives children the right to free and compulsory education.  We have one of the world's largest campaigns for education to all, one of the largest [unclear] schemes.

Mr. President and Mr. Secretary-General, you have in India one of your strongest supporters of what you are pursuing here.  I was delighted to read the report that was commissioned for this meeting, which noted such significant progress that my country has made.

The net enrollment ratio in primary schools in India has risen from 96 percent in 2007 and 2008 to 99.89 percent in 2011 and 2012.  Over the past decade, the number of out-of-school children in India in the primary level, which used to be as high as 32 million in 2011, has reached 2.9 million.  And we have paid a great deal of attention to gender parity.  In fact, our Gender Parity Index at the primary level has improved from 0.93 to 0.94 percent, and for upper primary level has improved from 0.89 to 0.95.

Mr. President, what are we focused on, and what is it that we would like from the global community?

We are focused on marginalized groups--[unclear] castes, [unclear] tribes, minorities, girl children, as well as children with special needs.  We are carrying out a massive mapping exercise through the country.

Our second focus area is on enhancing learning outcomes.  Please note that many of the children are first-generation learners, and it takes a lot of time and effort to improve the learning outcomes in these children. We are undertaking training of teachers, revision of curricula, training of principals, and a host of other steps.

And we really believe that we would be extremely benefited by getting together sets of global best practices that we can try to utilize in our country.

I will stop here and just point out that the next major exercise for us is to universalize opportunities for vocational educational opportunities, skills development, and we are doing this in collaboration with industry, the private sector, and we want to see that the entire issue of literacy and education also leads to employment and employability.

Thank you very much, Mr. President and Mr. Secretary-General.

DR. KIM: Thank you very much.

We have so many people to hear from, and we urge you to be concise and to-the-point.

The representative from Bangladesh; Mr. Minister?

BANGLADESH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

We have 1.5 million to catch.  We have 19 million in school.  The people to catch are hard-to-reach people, not because of space problems but because of social problems--urban slums, indigenous people, physically impaired people.  These are what you have to reach.

It is not easy to reach them so quickly, and we will need sufficient resources in order to be able to reach them.

We are doing our best, and I think we need to find some means of a particular kind of experiment which Haiti is carrying out to set apart some funding for this purpose.  I do not promise it right now, but this is an option which is definitely acceptable. 

But as Prime Minister Gordon Brown mentioned, it needs two hands to clap, so we also expect the kind of response from others as well.

Thank you.

DR. KIM: Thank you very much.  Thank you.

[Applause.]

DR. KIM: Next, the Minister from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

You have the floor.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO [Interpreted from French]: Thank you very much, Mr. President.

I appreciate your giving me the floor.

The Democratic Republic of Congo since 2010 has very much emphasized free education for all in public schools.  We launched that initiative knowing that we had a million kids outside of school.  We have 3.5 million that are still out of school.  So we have improved 1.5, those children of course being of school age.

Among the children who are not yet at school, we have noticed that 60 percent of them don't go to school because of the cost of schooling.  The remaining 40 percent don't go because of armed conflict, and those who live where mining activity takes place often don't go for that reason.

The problem of teachers is also critical for us, so we understand that it is imperative to work on that front--that is, on training teachers, having access to school and of course quality education.

Once we have a cadre of teachers in hand, we believe we will be able to get the 2 million kids who are still out of school into school.

Thank you very much, sir.

DR. KIM: Thank you.

The representative from Ethiopia; Mr. Minister.

ETHIOPIA: Thank you, Mr. President.

Just to focus on the question raised, in the last 20 years, we have learned about the importance of education, and with the political commitment and community mobilization, how we can achieve this important investment.

When we talk about investment in education, this is a smart investment.  It is today's investment, and it is tomorrow's investment.  I this regard, for emerging countries like Ethiopia that have a knowledge-based society, education is very critical and important.

So far, we have achieved a lot in this regard, but we still have critical challenges that should be addressed, especially accessing students in rural areas, girls, and marginalized societies.  This is very critical.  Around 3 million students, target groups, are still out of school.  So mobilizing them with the active participation of the community and committed leadership are very critical, and we are focusing around the world.

The second one is the issue of quality.  Although education is capital-intensive, to realize that, quality education is very critical.  We have set a clear standard and assessment tools and related inputs.  And focusing on quality education is very important in the timely agenda.  We designed a clear quality improvement program to address this national issue.

The third one is the issue of dropouts.  Due to the poverty problems, economic problems, cultural and other social problems, the dropout problem is still our serious challenge.  We are working a lot around this one, but it still needs further intervention for the sustainability of students at school from the lower level up to the higher level.

So, to intervene in this critical challenge, there is still continuing, committed government intervention, mobilizing the community, and the active engagement of the global society is very, very critical, and that is the timely agenda.

To me, today is a special day, having such a forum, discussing education to transform our society is actually a very important one.  We really appreciate the UN Secretary, the World Bank President, and the UN Special Envoy for the reality of this, and on our side, we are committed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by addressing these critical problems.

Thank you very much.

[Applause.]

DR. KIM: Thank you.

Now I'd like to call on the Minister from Nigeria.

NIGERIA: Thank you very much for this opportunity once more.

In Nigeria, our major challenges are centered around the issue of access and quality.  On access, we are battling with the issue of low girls' participation in schools.  We have the issue of the [unclear] which I discussed this morning.  We have regional disparities.  We also have low participation in adult literacy, and we are working UNESCO in that respect.

And of course, on the issue of quality, we are still battling with the issue of infrastructure.  We have problems with teacher recruitment and teacher quality.  We also have the problem of continuous development of teachers in terms of their own capacity building, and of course, the [unclear] outcome that we are also facing.

But Nigeria is working.  We understand that we have the highest number of out-of-school children--10.5 million--the highest in the world.  So we believe that with this very important meeting, we appreciate the Secretary-General and his team, and we hope the support given to Nigeria will be targeted toward what we are also planning to do.

We are working with the states.  As I mentioned this morning, the problem in Nigeria is that we have the financing, and we also have the political will, but unfortunately, the issue of education in Nigeria, particularly when it comes to primary education or basic education, the problem lies with the State governments.

We do have 36 States in the Federation plus FCT [phonetic], and we have to have the political will from all of those governors.

So, what Mr. President wants to do now--and we are working with the Finance Minister here--the President is going to call for a special meeting with all the governors to have their own political will, because since we have the financing, and we have the good will of the President, if we can bring on board the State Governors, we will be able to make it in terms of what we are planning to do.

What we will require from the international community is their support as far as the issue of capacity building is concerned, not only in financing, because we definitely know that we need that political will and support.

Thank you very much.

[Applause.]

DR. KIM: The Minister from South Sudan.

SOUTH SUDAN: Thank you very much for this opportunity.

South Sudan has a lot of challenges.  We are one-and-a-half years old.  These challenges can be solved in the way that the Secretary-General, the President of the World Bank, the UN Special Envoy on Global Education have thrown their weight.  Our President and the government have declared the physical war is over, and now the war is on education.  I think this is something that is comforting.

To mention some of these challenges, access--1.4 million children in South Sudan are out of school, and many of the ex-combatants in the army and all of the organized forces need to learn.  Some of the problems we are having now, in the case of insecurity, come from the fact that most of these people, if they get educated, will not do what they are doing now.

So we think that access to education should not only be limited to the children but to most of the grown-up people who have missed education because of the war.

Access for girls, as I have mentioned before, is very low, and we have presented this in our paper.  There should be an increase in the access of girls to schools.

We need to train teachers.  We need to have books provided, and we need to train teachers.  We have seven teacher training institutes, and we need to rebuild, because all the buildings were destroyed.

So I wish to thank [unclear] for being concerned to solve the problem of this new nation.

Thank you very much.

[Applause.]

DR. KIM: Thank you very much.

I'd like to ask the Minister from Yemen.

YEMEN [Interpreted from Arabic]: I would like to extend my deep thanks to those who organized this meeting.

I would like to say that you all know that the Yemen Republic is one of the countries of the Arab Spring, the youth of which are seeking to achieve their dream of a change in building a modern civic state, and that gateway to that is education.

One of our challenges is that we have 2 million children out of school, an 80 percent literacy rate, and a very low rate of girls in school.  Therefore, the government has sought to design serious solutions by putting a plan of action, two of which would address inequalities--regional inequalities--and increase addressing the needs of special needs and marginalized groups.

The third point addresses quality of education, and the fourth addresses developing national curricula and improving the quality of education.  Two programs would also include capacity building and eradication of illiteracy and early schooling.

These ten programs would have to be implemented concurrently for us to be able to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, or at least achieve most of them.

However, we face serious challenges of lack of funding, reaching a shortfall of $180 million, to achieve or to execute our plan.  It is our hope that our partners--not the donors, I would say, but our partners--and members of our team will assist us in allowing the children of Yemen to obtain the right to education.

I thank you very much.

DR. KIM: Thank you.

I would just remind everybody that we have three questions, and we are going to do our very best to give everyone a chance to speak.  But on this question of what will it take to get all children in school, and what are the key bottlenecks, we would like to ask first Peter Baxter of AusAID, then Tony Lake of UNICEF, Luis Alberto Moreno of the Inter-American Development Bank, and Alice Albright.

We will take those four, and then we'll go on to the next question, and we'll go in order and do our very best, and we think everyone will have a chance to speak.

Peter, thank you very much for being here, and thank you for your support.

AusAID (PETER BAXTER): Thanks very much, Jim.

I would like to focus on two areas.

First, on equity, we need to increase our focus on reaching the most disadvantaged, those children who are excluded from learning because of poverty, the location where they live, their gender, their ethnicity, and those who suffer from disability.

One effective strategy for tackling disadvantage is to invest in coordinated early childhood interventions, including health, nutrition, and pre-primary education.

We know that investing in early childhood development gives young children the best chance to grow and develop and to be ready for school and then to learn while they are there.

Children with disabilities are amongst the most disadvantaged but also have the most to gain from education, because education opens the door to social inclusion and independence, and it allows children to have the opportunity to gain employment after they finish school and to participate in social activities.  So our investments must be disability-inclusive.

On global partnership, we now have two central international mechanisms for strengthening our global efforts to get better results.  We have the Global Education First Initiative, and that really consolidates our political and our advocacy efforts under one umbrella.  And we have the Global Partnership for Education which has the responsibility for accelerating implementation.

Under its new leadership, we see an opportunity for the Global Partnership to play a critical leadership role as a vehicle to effectively support countries to reach their education goals.  All partners need to get behind the GPE to ensure the GPE can deliver on its reform objectives and become a truly innovative and effective global fund, mobilizing resources to fill gaps and to improve education results.

UNICEF EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TONY LAKE: Do I get Peter's 14 seconds that were left over?

[Laughter.]

DR. KIM: Yes.

UNICEF (MR. LAKE): I just took them; thank you.

I just want to echo what so many have said and applaud it, about the importance of reaching the marginalized.  We have to focus on reaching the hardest-to-reach, or we cannot reach our goals on poverty, on education, and even on health.

Let me make an argument for finance ministers here.

Yes, it is more costly to reach into those communities, but consider the cost of not reaching them, to each child, to the community, and to the nation, because it is in those areas where poverty is worse and, therefore, where education is most important.

Besides the contribution that those areas can make, for example, through girls, think about growth without reaching those areas in which inequalities will grow in those economies, with all of the political and social implications of that.

The effect on education--by definition, if we are going to reach the 61 million children out of school, that is where they are, disproportionately; or even, perhaps more importantly, 250 million children are failing to learn properly and cannot read or write by grade four.

Health--one estimate is that in Sub-Saharan Africa, almost 2 million children could have been saved in 2008 who lost their lives if their mothers had had secondary education--and that would have moved us closer to MDG 4.

The fact is that we are not focusing now on the areas of greatest need.  A new World Bank study shows that in low-income Sub-Saharan Africa, 10 percent of the most educated are benefiting from 43 percent of the public spending.  I believe that has to change.

Let me emphasize that this is cost-effective as well.  A UNICEF simulation about Ghana shows that in-service training of teachers already in the disadvantaged areas helped more children learn than through our traditional pre-service teacher training.

Also, just to emphasize, we can use various innovations both to reach marginalized areas and to empower people to demand better education, and we in UNICEF are looking forward to working with all partners in doing so.

Thank you.

DR. KIM: Thank you very much, Tony.

Luis Alberto Moreno.

INTER-AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK (MR. MORENO): Thank you very much, and thank you for this initiative.

I would say that one of the big lessons that we have had in Latin America is how you can divide certain areas which are harder to reach, which goes exactly to something that Tony was saying and the Minister from Bangladesh.  Reaching the most remote areas requires a way of thinking that is different than going to urban areas.

Here, one of the things that is interesting to find is how, in many countries, a lot of the education is delivered by private groups as opposed to public groups.  So we can all agree here what public education needs to do, but doing the curricula and having something that is overarching and has impact is critical.

It is for this reason that I believe the critical idea that we need to think about, more than the funding itself, which is of course critical, is the implementation and how you break down that implementation.  Certainly, teacher training is something that everybody has talked about here, but it is the sequencing--it is something that Peter said from AusAID--at the end of the day, the way to think about this is from early childhood development to working with teachers and all the components of teacher training, and then, all of these skills to work.  And those skills will be different depending on the areas in which you are doing the kinds of interventions that you are doing.

And certainly, investing much more in teachers as you work forward and the infrastructure part.  And here, there are very interesting models--the so-called one-classroom schools in rural areas.  I think we should bring out these experiments that have worked and have been successful.

With that, I saved 6 seconds, so I'll stop there. 

Thank you.

DR. KIM: Thank you.

Alice Albright, CEO of the Global Partnership for Education.

GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP FOR EDUCATION (MS. ALBRIGHT): Thank you very much, Dr. Kim, for your very warm welcome.

I would also like to congratulate you and the Secretary-General and also Gordon Brown for convening these meetings.  It has been a remarkable day.

You asked us to talk about the essential ingredients for getting every child into school, and we have talked about those--strong learning outcomes, getting girls into school, remote children, teacher training and financing--but I also think it takes some additional ingredients.

One is partnering.  I think this room owes all of these countries the best tools that we can muster to give them the know-how, the financing and the techniques to build out their school systems, and that is something that the GPE is absolutely committed to.

We will offer to all of you our focus, our follow-up and, hopefully, our good ideas on financing.  One of the things that we are increasingly thinking about internally is that education is an investment, not a recurring cost.

So I want to offer to you that GPE stands ready to help all of you.  Starting tomorrow, we are happy to facilitate the follow-up meetings to the discussions that we have had today, not only ongoing but also in September and thereafter. We will certainly advocate and mobilize greater funding not only through GPE but from all of you on a bilateral basis to help all of our country partners build out their school systems.

We are also happy to help convene follow-up meetings to keep these dialogues going, which we think have been tremendously beneficial.

I thank you all again for including me.  It has been a wonderful set of meetings.  We exist for one reason at GPE, and that is to ensure that every child has an opportunity to change his or her life for the better.  We stand ready to help you, and thank you very much.

[Applause.]

DR. KIM: Thank you very much, Alice.

Just another quick note.  I am going to hand it over now, and Gordon will chair the next session.

Remember that Question 2 is what are priority actions for governments, and Question 3 is what can development partners do to help.

MR. BROWN: I think the common strands arising from the already given contributions are--we see a priority now in reaching the marginalized.  We believe that we need a better "science of delivery," to use Jim Kim's own words, and we need to have better cooperation between the donor partners and those who are needing support.

I want to call on some of the agencies that are providing very substantial funds for education around the world and have shown extraordinary resilience, even in times of austerity, in supporting global education and providing aid.

I would first of all like to call on Raj Shah from USAID, who has done a fantastic job today preparing for these meetings and offering support to the countries around the table.

Raj?

USAID (MR. SHAH): Thank you, Gordon, and thank you for pulling this partnership together and leading it so effectively.

USAID and the United States are proud to be part of it.  As the largest bilateral donor to primary education, we believe that a strategic approach that integrates access and quality, innovation and measurement, is the path forward, and we found that most of the analyses of country plans and programs essentially highlighted those core components.

We really applaud today's process in large part because of the focus on country leadership.  The question was what can countries do to accelerate progress.  For us, having a clear set of priorities coming from countries driven by evidence and analysis; having countries and other partners collectively identify mechanisms that bring us together and allow for effective cofinancing and coordination; welcoming measurement and reporting on results; and welcoming mapping and targeting those children who are not in school.

Those were the types of discussions that were held throughout the day, and we were proud at USAID to launch our effort to be part of this.  We call it "Room to Learn."  It is a focused effort targeted initially in six countries that we had the chance to discuss this with today, where we intend to expand our investment significantly in order to reach 1.5 million children who are not in school and improve learning outcomes for them once they get into school.

I will close just by noting that President Obama in the State of the Union Address sounded a little bit like Jim Kim in that he commended the United States to work to end extreme poverty within two decades, and he made that commitment out of a fundamental belief that it is possible and ought to be our goal going forward.  And "Room to Learn" is just one manifestation of our administration's commitment to that ultimate objective.

Finally, I will just say on Luis' point that I think what is particularly inspiring about today is the follow-up and the focus on implementation.  So we look forward to working with you to make that happen.

Thank you.

[Applause.]

MR. BROWN: Norway also has--

DR. KIM: Do you want to go to the third question, or no?

MR. BROWN: No; I am going to call Norway now on the second question on the broad reactions.

DR. KIM: The third question--we'll move you to the third question.

MR. BROWN:  All right.  I will call first of all Minister Bach from Denmark. Denmark is one of the champions of the Education First Initiative.

DENMARK (MR. BACH):  Thank you very much, and thank you very much for the leadership provided by the Secretary-General, President Kim, Gordon Brown.  Thank you very much.  This is an excellent initiative.

I would like to emphasize one specific point.

I believe the crucial role of education is there for children, but it is also there for state building and peace building, especially in fragile countries.  Schools manage to build a social contract between states and their citizens; they build social capital, cohesion and cooperation.

So this is not only about building schools; it is also about building stronger states and sustaining peace.  That is why we must do our best to avoid the mistakes of the past, the [unclear] of the past, and we must avoid building parallel structures and instead support strong national plans, strong national ownership, and strong national leadership.  That is crucial.

We must also thereby stubbornly support the international mechanisms and structures that do this, not least the Global Partnership for Education and its close cooperation with the key UN organizations.  By standing together on this, we can build stronger schools and stronger states and sustain peace at the same time.

That is my important message.

Thank you very much.

[Applause.]

MR. BROWN: Commissioner Andris Piebalgs has moved the European Union to a pivotal role in education delivery and committing resources to individual countries, so Commissioner, would you like to address us?

EUROPEAN COMMISSION (MR. PIEBALGS): Thank you very much.

I believe that first and what is definitely important is focus on education, and the MDGs have definitely been a success for education, but it was also a bit of a challenge, because now the focus is on other goals, and education moves to the side.  I believe that the Learning for All Initiative exactly once again focuses us on education, and I believe the post-2015 development agenda should also include a very strong focus on education.

I believe that, in partnership, we can also very much design the challenges.  I think the main challenges that we have seen now are access to marginalized groups, because they are growing, and they really need it, and it costs a lot of money, really, to involve them; and second is quality of education.

To address this, it is very crucial that it includes ownership and leadership of government and, as the Prime Minister of Haiti said, we need to make their work easier.  The EU is trying to make so-called joint programming that is subordinated to government development plans.  Only in this way can we really be effective in strengthening the government action.

But it is still crucial to have money.  In the last year, in 2012, we have spent some $9 billion, and we have disbursed 7 percent on education.  In my opinion, this does not sound too convincing.  Six hundred million euro that the European Commission has supported sounds more convincing, but it is only 7 percent for education, and it was in 48 countries, also including the GPE Fund.

This education support will continue until 2017, but it is important that in the next period, countries themselves also call for development partners to support the education sector.  Among all the priorities, it is crucial that countries themselves show leadership.  So we need to support them in education.

Thank you.

[Applause.]

MR. BROWN: One of the strands of thinking coming out of the discussions today was that if we are going to reach the marginalized, we should look again in some countries at how we can advance conditional cash transfers, and a number of different countries came up with proposals that this be considered for them.

We had a meeting on Haiti that was chaired by Margaret Biggs.  Canada has done a huge amount of work in Haiti, as elsewhere, so I would like to call on Margaret to speak.

CIDA (MS. BIGGS): Thank you very much, and thank you to the World Bank and the United Nations and the Special Envoy for organizing this.

I would like to make three quick points.

The first one is just to reinforce the message we have heard today about the cost of inaction, the cost of the lost potential of every child in every country, and again, for ministers of finance who might be in the room, the importance of looking at this as a strategic investment, probably the most strategic investment that a country can make, in children and in youth.

The second point I want to make is that we also need to link this back to how education can be a force multiplier.  It can multiply the investments that we are all making in issues like child survival.  We need to link those agendas and show that children have to survive, but they also have to thrive.

The third point I wanted to make was to draw in a concept that we have not had at the table today, which is about the safety and security of our children.  Schools have to be safe; they have to be safe for children, for girls and for boys, and as our colleague from Denmark said, they have to be places that build community and build citizenship.  But they cannot be places that children are scared to go, and we need to listen to their voices.

Thank you very much.

[Applause.]

MR. BROWN:  There is no better person to take this argument forward about a coordinated approach to putting education at the center than Irina Bokova, who is the head of UNESCO, so I will ask Irina to speak.

UNESCO (MS. BOKOVA): Thank you very much, Gordon.

From our perspective, I think what is most important is political will, as somebody said, but also to build very sound education systems.  It is important to strengthen them because then you can put in perspective cash transfers, you can look at case-by-case countries, decentralized countries, which have specific challenges.  And then also, I think it is important that the development community looks at both formal and non-formal education.  It is important in many settings in many countries--non-formal education, literacy, parental literacy, and parental environment also, which is conducive to bringing kids to school.

Then, I think we have to take into account that still, 38 million children are out of school because they are living in conflict countries.  I think that situations of conflict and post-conflict countries are very particular.  I am looking at Her Highness Sheikha Moza; she was ringing the bell and continuing about such situations, where I believe humanitarian interventions have to take education more as something important, and we don't see that.  Only 2 percent of humanitarian aid goes to schools, and I think it is important that it is from the very beginning of such cases.  I think South Sudan is also a very important case-in-point, because you have to take very particular issues, like reintegration of children soldiers and reintegration overall in society.  I think this is something very, very special.

Finally, in order to do all this, we have to have very sound data.  I think data, statistics, in any particular setting are extremely important.  Mapping--we need to have that if we want to have sound interventions and systems.

Thank you.

[Applause.]

MR. BROWN:  One other theme emphasizing the cost-effectiveness of education that came out of our discussions was the idea that education is the goal that unlocks the other goals.  If we invest in education, we can improve our record on health, on employment, and of course, on gender equality.  Again, Education International is an organization that has been pushing this for many, many years, and Susan Hopgood is here.  I will ask her to contribute.

EDUCATION INTERNATIONAL (MS. HOPGOOD): Thank you very much.

International cooperation is critical to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.  One point I would like to make is that through international cooperation, we ourselves, as an organization that represents teacher organizations and teacher unions in all countries around the world, or almost all countries around the world--we understand the importance of building the capacity of teacher organizations so they can take their place at the table in all of the discussions, in the development of the plans and so on.

This is very critical.  We understand that many teacher organizations do not have that place at the table, so we would like to make the point today to you all that we are committed to helping member organizations to have that capacity.  We hope you make the commitment to ensure that they have their voice at the table to ensure that international cooperation. 

Thank you.

[Applause.]

MR. BROWN: Thank you very much.

Before I pass back to Jim Kim, can I welcome on your behalf Freida Pinto, who is not only a great actress but is a girls' education champion.  Thank you very much for being with us today.

[Applause.]

DR. KIM: Thank you, and thank you so much for keeping your remarks so on-point.

I would like to first call on my friend Donald Kaberuka from the African Development Bank to make comments around the question of what can development partners do to help ensure that all children are able to go to school and learn.

AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK (MR. KABERUKA): Thank you, Jim.

I think you have done the first step already, because it is not about simply increasing expenditures, budgets and operations everywhere, in low-income countries and in donor countries.  It is also about value and sustainability.

I think bringing finance ministers and education ministers around the room is a first step.  It is essential.

Many of the achievements we celebrate today over the last decade in education have been funded by donor money.  And you have asked the hard question about sustainability.  So I believe what you have done today to bring finance ministers to this room is extremely important.  That is the essential first and last step.

Number two, if we are to reach the people in the marginalized countries, in the fragile state countries, it will not be possible to accomplish the whole list of things we have to do, including infrastructure, without innovation.  And one of the things we will have to do is examine how we can leapfrog in providing education--make use of technologies which are available today, which Gordon and I discussed in Dubai.

I grew up in a refugee camp with many of my countrymen, but I am here today.  The difference was the quality of the teachers--motivated.

Now, the kids of today do not have to go through the same teaching and learning methods we went through.  Technology is available.  It is available for kids in the Congo, in Somalia, everywhere.  I think we will have to figure out how to make this technology work with them, and we at the Bank are trying to see how that can be done.

Thank you.

[Applause.]

DR. KIM: Thank you so much.

I would like to now call on one of the true leaders in support of education, Mark Lowcock from DFID.

DFID (MR. LOWCOCK): Thank you very much indeed.

There are 5 million girls and boys in schools in the United Kingdom.  Over the period from 2010 to 2014, we will finance 9 million girls and boys, mostly girls, actually, going through basic education, largely in the countries around this table.

As we have gone along the journey, especially as the focus has moved from access to quality, we have learned three important things, I think.

The first is, picking up Donald's point, the essential focus that is needed on teachers--how they are hired, how they are trained, how they are paid, how they are managed, are they in the classroom, and what are they doing in the classroom.  That is a system issue that in lots of places, we need to grip.

The second is picking up Luis' point about the need for public-private partnerships.  In many of the great cities in the developing world, whether it is Lagos or Nairobi or Kinshasa or Lahore or Karachi, many of the children are in low-fee private schools, and our system, the international development system, has not paid enough attention to how we can support that sector.

The third thing we have learned is the need for long-run, sustained commitment and relentless pursuit of this whole agenda, both by the countries themselves but also by the development partners.  Every year, year on year for the last decade, the UK has increased its efforts in this space, and we intend to go on doing that.

Thank you.

[Applause.]

DR. KIM: And now I would like to call on Minister Heikki Holmas from Norway to make an intervention.

NORWAY (MR. HOLMAS): Thank you very much.

My father-in-law was the only one in his class who went to secondary education, and he was the first one in his family who had higher education.  He came from a very rural area in Norway.  I say this because he grew up in the post-war situation, and this underscores my point on what you need in order to achieve full education and equal opportunities for education for all.

You need a government that prioritizes it.  You need to make certain that all people--all kids--all over the country, whatever kinds of disabilities or however rural the area is, get the same access to education.

And thirdly, you need the funding in order to do this.

It is impossible for me to give the right prescription for all of you on how you do this, but I will take you along one line of thought that I think is important.

UNICEF published this month a report that shows the relationship between a country's per capita GDP and the well-being of its children, and that is included in the access to education.  The connection or the link is weak.  That means, really, that it isn't enough for the finance ministers to get enough money in our high-rising GDP, but you actually need to make certain that taxes are mobilized in order to get the money and prioritize it to the kids who need it.

That is why I think it is so important that we--as a donor country, I think it is important to focus, of course, on the equality between rich countries and poor countries, and that is why we present one percent of our GDP, our gross national income, in development aid.  But it is also immensely important to focus on making certain that you can decrease inequality in a country by also having enough taxes.  We spend more of our money backing up countries and encouraging countries to increase the tax income of your citizens, because this is the only way to have a sustainable way of financing your education system in the years to come.

[Applause.]

DR. KIM: Thank you very much.

I'd like to ask Vice Minister Uta Bullhoff from Germany to speak next.

GERMANY (MS. BULLHOFF): Thank you all for making education a priority.

I would like to echo much that has been said underlying the importance of education for state and peace-building, for the empowerment of girls and women, for enabling employment and sustainable growth.

Education is a human right, and it is a development goal on its own.  So Germany has made it a priority in particular in the last few years, and the efforts supporting and working with partner countries are ranging from early childhood schooling and in particular also to vocational training.

We also would like to see the future of education, the possible post-2015 agenda, to get a strong position.  In the recent global thematic consultations, I think there was a lot of agreement on access and quality that needs to be raised, and I think a lot has been said here about we have to fight inequality, we have to lift up teacher quality, we have to leverage technology that is out there but which we are not yet using, and in order to make sure that we get the success needed, we need to closely monitor the results and successes and also ensure that we share the knowledge and the best practices that are out there.

[Applause.]

DR. KIM: Thank you.

I would now like to invite Bill Green from Accenture and the Global Business Coalition.  We are especially excited to have you here.  We have heard echoes all day today about the importance of the private sector in this space.

ACCENTURE (MR. GREEN): Thank you.

I think the first thing is that I think the private sector recognizes that we are in a world of collaboration, that there isn't one dimension of this, be that money, be it effort, be it programs, that will tackle the challenge ahead of us.

It is going to take all of us, and I think the private sector can bring two dimensions.  One is education, and the second is inspiration, to allow people to raise their sights.

I think business knows that we have trapped talent in countries around the world and that it is essential that we unleash that.  The private sector knows that it needs to be involved in all areas of the supply chain in terms of talent creation, really, for two reasons.  I think the first is to create the customers of the future and rising prosperity in the markets of the future.

The second is to create the talent of the future, the people who are going to invent and change how the world works and lives.

So I see incredible energy from the business community, which has recognized that even though we have navigated through incredibly tough economic challenges, we are all still here.  We have to take long-term view, not a short-term view.  And in the end, we have to recognize the education is a means to an end, not the end in itself, and the end in itself is the rising prosperity and standards of living for people across the world, which is good for economic prosperity and broadly good for the private sector as well as being good for the men and women of the global.

So thank you for having me.

[Applause.]

DR. KIM: Before asking the Secretary-General and Gordon to make some closing comments, I would like to take the final comment from the floor from Helen Clark of UNDP.

UNDP (MS. CLARK): Thank you, Jim.

I want to make just two points.

The first is that, clearly, the solutions lie both within and beyond the education sector if we are to effectively address the disparity and access issues for girls and for marginalized and excluded groups generally.  And I think Gordon's reference to cash transfers and their role points to the need to be looking beyond the education sector itself to the other levers.

Secondly, I want to underline that solutions must also be country and context specific, and each country has talked about its own circumstances.  I think it is critical for development partners to line up with the country strategies.  And on behalf of the UN country teams around the world, I can say that we are committed to aligning with each country's strategy and supporting each to address the specific challenges that they have.

Thank you.

[Applause.]

DR. KIM: Thank you very much.

Secretary-General?

UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON: Thank you, Dr. Kim and Gordon Brown, for moderating this very well-structured discussion.

You have discussed various tools and approaches for how we can empower people through education.  While I have been attending many multilateral meetings, sometimes we talk without knowing where we are going, but this meeting has been, I think, one of the most well-structured ways of moderating this one.

It is not necessary to emphasize the importance of education.  If I may explain one of my recent experiences, when I visited the Syrian refugee camps in Jordan, life, of course, is miserable--miserable, hopeless--but what I was most impressed by was that the United Nations has built some temporary school classrooms for young children there, with UNICEF and UNESCO and so on.

I was so struck and impressed, and I told them:  Look, have hope.  Do not despair.  I also studied under these conditions after the Korean War, but you seem to be a little better than I was 50 years ago.  So still, do not lose your hope.  The United Nations will always be behind you.

That was one of my most moving experiences.  Where life was very difficult, we care for our young children so they will be able to learn.  This is one thing that I would like to share with you, and I am very deeply grateful for your commitment and leadership.

I think we need a very good vision.  After all, finance ministers have a lot of difficulty dealing with the many ministers asking for money.  But on how to and where to invest. Please invest in education.  I am really asking you for that.

We need wise investment, and particularly when we invest in women and girls, this will have a multiplier effect.  It is not that you are teaching just one woman or one girl.  You are teaching a family.  If you educate the woman, her family, then you are educating a community and a nation.  Then you are educating the whole world.

So I am just emphasizing the importance of girls' education.

And I thank the "Girl Rising" organization, and I thank them for the event this evening.

Again, I thank you very much for this opportunity; all the best.

Thank you.

[Applause.]

MR. BROWN: Let me add all our thanks to the Secretary-General, because he provides inspiration for that we do.

And let me thank Jim Kim, because his emphasis on the importance of how we deliver and developing the capacity to do so is also inspirational in the work we have to do.

Can I just say that following on from these meetings, in September, at the time of the UN General Assembly, it is proposed that we have country meetings for countries that we didn't include today--Afghanistan, Pakistan, Burma, Timor, and other countries--and there may be scope for follow-up meetings because of issues that have been raised today that need to be followed through, and we will be working with all the organizations and the GPE to do this.

I think we have also seen that the private sector, foundations, the voluntary sector, could be more engaged in the business of delivering education and providing partnership, and I hope we can look at how we can increase that engagement over the next few months.

I think the lesson we have learned is that we need to reach the marginalized, we need to emphasize quality, and let us not forget the other inspiration for the Education First Initiative of the Secretary-General - that we want to encourage a citizenship that is truly global.

Thank you very much.

[Applause.]

DR. KIM: Let me end with just a few quick words.

First of all, I want to thank the Secretary-General because he is bringing the entire multilateral system together.  Some of you may know that at the last [United Nations] Chief Executives Board meeting, we actually took on three countries--Tanzania, Ghana, and Niger--and under the Secretary-General's leadership, everyone around the table--myself, representatives from the IMF--began to make their own commitments to help those three countries reach the Millennium Development Goals.

The Secretary-General has reminded us that there are still 980-some days left, and we are not giving up.  That is the most important thing I want to tell you.  Under his leadership, we are not giving up.

We have committed that every six months at the CEB meeting, we are going to look at specific countries and ask ourselves what we around the table can do to accelerate the process toward the MDGs.

We just had a meeting today of leaders in the health world, and we are going to do the exact same thing.  We have to have single budgets, single plans, use the same frameworks--not burden countries but help them reach their targets.

Finally, I really want to thank Gordon.  There is a saying that you have people who are so focused and keep your feet to the fire.  I feel like my feet have been in the fire with Gordon, and that is just where it should be.

So we will meet again in September, and the expectation is that we will hear just how all of you are doing in terms of making progress around the commitments we have made today.

What I heard today was that the commitment, the ideas, and the insights around implementation are all here at this table.  There is no reason why we cannot get 61 million children into school by the end of 2015.

I look forward to the journey with you.  We are going to make it.  And now, I would like to invite everybody to come to the "Girl Rising" event downstairs in the Atrium.

Thank you very much.

[Applause.]

 


Api
Api