Dubai Cares, a global philanthropic organization launched in September 2007 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to improve children's access to quality primary education in developing countries, took part in the Oslo Summit on Education for Development in Norway today. The summit, convened by the Government of Norway in collaboration with UN Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown, brought together heads of states and governments from developing and developed countries, ministers, heads of UN agencies and regional organizations, members of the business community and civil society to discuss issues critical to achieving universal access to quality education.
The Dubai Cares delegation, led by Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Cares also attended a high-level meeting that took place on the sidelines of the Summit, co-organized by UN Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown, the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in coordination with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs . During this meeting, attendees discussed the creation of a Global Humanitarian Fund for Education in Emergencies, which aims to protect the most vulnerable children and get them back in school. The fund also aims to strengthen existing mechanisms, rapidly coordinate and deliver education in emergencies, and leverage new finance. More than 20 million children are currently being denied an education because they live in conflict and disaster zones and despite the growing numbers of children caught up in tragedy, in 2014, only 1% of overall humanitarian aid and 2% of humanitarian appeals was spent on education.
Speaking from the summit, Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Cares said: "We are inspired by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum's firm belief that education is the most effective tool to break the cycle of poverty. To achieve this, a greater focus needs to be placed on the fragile and conflict affected states and situations. According to the World Bank, people in fragile and conflicted-affected situations are more than twice as likely to be under-nourished as those in other developing countries, more than three times as likely to be unable to send their children to school, twice as likely to see their children die before age five, and more than twice as likely to lack clean water. This makes the needs of children living in fragile states an urgent priority for us. Our presence at the summit has enabled us to contribute our technical know-how on this and other matters as well as to engage with like-minded organizations for potential collaboration, building on our guiding principle of working through partnerships."
The summit, which was also attended by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, focused on issues that needed to be resolved urgently in order to reach the 58 million children still being denied their right to education. The main topics under discussion spanned four key issues: education in emergencies, investment in education, quality of education and girls' education. Experts assembled discussed solutions aimed at mobilizing strong and renewed political commitment to universal education, strengthening learning outcomes, reversing the negative trend in international support for education and enhancing domestic resource mobilization.
The agenda of the summit was built on the outcomes of the World Education Forum in Incheon in South Korea, also attended by Dubai Cares. In South Korea, Dubai Cares participated in a panel discussion titled "Using Evidence in Policy Making and Practice", which tackled the need for a strong evidence-base in education outcomes, what programs work best to change those outcomes and the systems in place to widely implement those programs.
Over the past seven years, Dubai Cares, with the support of the UAE community, has been facilitating change and development in children's education in developing communities around the globe. Dubai Cares programs are currently reaching more than 13 million beneficiaries in 39 developing countries.