Fulfilling our collective responsibility: Financing global public goods in education – policy paper
UNESCO – Policy Paper 34
March 2018 :: 16 pages
This paper argues that global public goods in education – such as internationally comparable data and statistics, basic research addressing the challenge of improving learning outcomes for sustainable development, and networks for peer learning – are in short supply, poorly funded and rarely coordinated. It calls on the international community to develop a joint vision and finance their provision sustainably to alleviate major constraints to achieving Education 2030 targets.
:: Global public goods are the institutions, mechanisms and outcomes that provide benefits to all, transcend borders and extend across generations.
:: One cross-cutting global public good is knowledge for global development. In the case of education, such knowledge takes three forms: comparable data; research on issues of global relevance; and peer learning networks. These need to build on local capacity.
:: Multilateral institutions, and the World Bank in particular, have played a major role in scaling up interventions related to global public goods. But such support has been plagued increasingly by lack of vision and a stronger focus on short-term results.
:: Financing modalities that focus on short-term results, which also come with increased donor control and alignment to their strategic objectives, may not support the purpose global public goods are supposed to serve.
:: Successful global public goods initiatives in other sectors suggest that their case has to be championed at the global level through strong institutional and intellectual leadership, and that such initiatives need to stay flexible to motivate continual fundraising.
:: It is time for strong institutional and intellectual leadership, building on a consultative approach, to help prioritize a range of global public goods in education that are fit for the purpose of achieving SDG 4 and establish the appropriate governance and funding structures to support their provision. Examples are provided as a starting point for discussion.