G20 summit live: big moment for education as world leaders meet in Germany

G20 Blog Montage

Barriers to education, Early childhood development, Education funding, Education in emergencies, Girls' education, Global Youth Ambassadors, Gordon Brown, Refugees and internally displaced people, Right to education, Sustainable Development Goals, The Education Commission, Theirworld

Welcome to our coverage of events as they happen from the G20 talks and Global Citizen Festival in Hamburg, Germany. Times given will be local German time.

The main headlines:

  • It’s a landmark moment as G20 leaders agree to act on a plan to get millions of children into school
  • A new International Finance Facility for Education could unlock up to $10 billion per year
  • Breakthrough comes after Shakira, international leaders and 145,000 campaigners call for G20 leaders to back education

July 8: day two of the G20 summit

5.30pm: That’s it from us – it’s been a memorable day for global education. The G20 leaders have taken a huge step towards getting every child in the world into school and learning.

They heard the voices of campaigners who demanded a future for millions of young people.

But we’ll give the final word to the Education Commission, who came up with the innovative idea of the International Finance Facility for Education – which could unlock $10 billion every year to help every child fulfil their potential.

3.45pm: The G20 leaders have agreed on their statement – and it’s a huge moment for global education!

After 10 years of declining funding for education, they have committed to action on a bold new financing plan that will unlock $10 billion a year and help to get millions of girls and boys into school.

This is a dramatic commitment and the first time in a decade that G20 leaders have signalled action on a new education funding initiative in one of their official communiques. Read the full story.

The statement on education funding is only 51 words long – but it could have a huge impact in the years to come. It reads…

We note the UN Secretary-General's proposal to establish an International Financing Facility for education taking into account other existing initiatives, such as the Global Partnership for Education and Education Cannot Wait, and look forward to examining it in further detail under Argentina's Presidency with a view to making recommendations on it.

Contained in that carefully-crafted diplomatic language is a major shift in the stance of world leaders.

Ben Hewitt, Theirworld’s Campaigns Director, says: “Funding for global education has been on the decline for more than 10 years, denying millions of children a future and a hope.

“It’s remarkable that these crucial few lines of text represents real progress and a strong commitment from world leaders to action.”

2.15pm: This is the scene in the conference room on day two of the G20 summit. Gathered are the leaders of 20 of the world’s most powerful countries, plus guests nations and other leading organisations. But a lot of the hard work was done through the night by the leaders’ key advisers, or sherpas, who were hammering out agreements and compromises.

G20 Summit Meeting On Day Two

A view of the conference room in Hamburg (Bundesregierung / Bergmann)

12.30pm: This is the question we’re all asking right now…

10.30am: Media outlets are reporting that officials and advisers worked through the night to try to reach an agreement over the wording of the Leaders’ Declaration – the statement from the G20 leaders that will cover a host of global issues.

That is due at some point today and will let us know if the world’s most powerful leaders are listening to those voices calling for action on education.

9am: Welcome back. It’s the second day of the G20 summit – but the third day of our blog, which began with coverage of the Global Citizen Festival in Hamburg.

That was where superstar Shakira echoed the messages of more than 145,000 campaigners that the world’s leaders must back education. She was supported by international figures, including UN education envoy Gordon Brown and Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg. If you missed what they had to say, Shakira has very helpfully tweeted this link to our story.

The G20 headlines in today’s newspapers are mainly about the first meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin yesterday – but we’re here to bring you news of how the summit will affect the future of millions of 263 million children and young people who are out of school.

Theirworld has been campaigning for a new International Finance Facility for Education that could unlock up to $10 billion per year and get tens of millions of children into school and learning.

Today we’re hoping to hear the G20 leaders have heard that call and decided to listen. The stakes are huge. 

There are 1.6 billion young people around the world and if education investment stays at current levels, by 2030 half of them will struggle to get a job because they will lack the education and necessary skills.

July 7: day one of the G20 summit

5.30pm: Most of the action today is happening away from the public glare. So we’ll be back here tomorrow to find out what’s being said about education in the Leaders’ Declaration, the statement from the G20 leaders.

4.10pm: If you missed Shakira sending out a powerful message to the G20 leaders last night, here she is at the Global Citizen Festival – outlining why a bold new financing plan could be the key to getting every child into school.

3.30pm: Here is the official picture of the G20 leaders, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the front. 

These are the people who could help to make education for every child in the world a reality.

G20 Summit Leaders Official Picture

3pm: Most of today’s action is happening behind closed doors. So for anyone wondering if there’s a live video stream of the summit, the answer’s no. There will be announcements and press conferences at certain points.

The big decisions will be relayed tomorrow when the Leaders’ Declaration – a statement from the G20 countries – will set out what has been agreed.

1.30pm: Today’s agenda is focused on the key areas of global growth and trade, fighting terrorism, sustainable development, climate and energy. But education is at the heart of all the Sustainable Development Goals agreed by world leaders last year.

If you’re still not sure what the G20 is, how it works and why education is crucial in so many ways to the future prosperity of both children and countries, read our 20 things about the G20 summit and education.

11.45am: The BBC’s Ros Atkins is covering the summit – and he’s interviewed two famous faces who made the passionate case for education and a new International Finance Facility for Education at last night’s Global Citizen Festival.

11am: Gordon Brown, the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, made an impassioned plea for G20 leaders to back education at last night’s Global Citizen festival. Today in an article for the Mirror, he tells how one single decision at the G20 summit could change the lives of 825 million children.

He says: “The proposal, an International Finance Facility for Education, could deliver up to $10 billion a year in additional education funding – virtually DOUBLING global aid for education.”

9am: Welcome to our coverage of the G20 summit in Hamburg – where decisions could be made that will affect the future of millions of children around the world.

200 million children – that’s one in eight – have never set foot in a classroom. Theirworld has been campaigning for a new International Finance Facility for Education (IFFEd) that could unlock up to $10 billion per year to make big change happen and huge numbers of children into school and learning.

Last night’s Global Citizen Festival in Hamburg featured messages from more than 145,000 campaigners and 30 leading organisations, calling for the G20 leaders to back education. Read the full story.

Scroll down to read coverage of the concert – including support for education and IFFEd from singer and campaigner Shakira, UN special envoy Gordon Brown and others.

Justin Trudeau And Angela Merkel Meet At G20 Summit

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau chats to German Chancellor Angela Merkel at today’s G20 summit

In the lead-up to this summit, key advisers to the international leaders have been meeting regularly to prepare the ground for their bosses. They’re called sherpas – find out why and what they do.

If you don’t know much about the G20, here are 20 things about the summit and why it could help to deliver education for all.

July 6: education campaign messages arrive in Hamburg; Global Citizen Festival features calls for G20 leaders to back education

11pm: The show is wrapping up with a last blast of music – but we’ll be back here tomorrow for the start of the G20 summit. Thanks for joining us today.

Here’s the picture that sums up the night. It shows that more than 145,000 people have called for action on education from G20 leaders. On the left is Argentinian President Mauricio Macri, whose country has the G20 presidency in 2018.

Others pictured include Julia Gillard, Board Chair of the Global Partnership for Education; Norwegian Prime Minister Ena Solberg; singer and Education Commissioner Shakira; and Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education.

10.20pm: Shakira says: “I want to thank all of you here who have shown what Global Citizens can achieve – over 145,000 of you signed a petition to urge all G20 countries to take action on education. That is powerful and inspiring!

“You have shown that we are not going to ignore the 263 millions kids who can’t access an education.”

She talks about the need for a new funding plan to get every child in the world into school – the International Finance Facility for Education, which can unlock $10 billion per year.

Shakira adds: “There are too many kids at risk of missing their only window of opportunity. We can’t press pause and ask them to wait to grow up until we have it all figured out.”

She introduces Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, who helped to set up the Education Commission of leaders and experts that investigated how to fund education for every child.

“Together, we can build a learning generation by 2030,” says Solberg. “We must invest in young people around the world.

“Education is the best investment available. Knowledge is key to the wellbeing of people and the planet.”

Then comes an impassioned speech from Gordon Brown, the UN Special Envoy for Global Education.

Shakira And Gordon Brown At The Global Citizen Festival

Shakira and Gordon Brown on stage at the concert in Hamburg (Theirworld)

He says: “Let us say to the 260 million children who have no school to go to – we are on your side. Let us say to the 400 million children whose education stops forever at age 11 – we are fighting for you.

“And let us say to the 800 million children whose education will end before its time – education is the civil rights struggle of our generation.”

On the subject of funding education, Brown says:  “Let us send the message to the G20 – education cannot wait. 

“Fund schools for refugee children so that they have hope – finance the Global Partnership for Education so they can help poor countries prosper and create the new International Finance Facility for Education so that by investing $10 billion more a year we can be the first generation in history where every single child in the world is out of exploitation and in education.”

Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri is the last speaker in this education section. His country has the G20 presidency in 2018 and he says: “Nothing is more important for our future than education. This involves the person and country and international community.

“Today we have to educate our children for jobs that don’t even exist. And all of us need to keep on developing skills throughout our lives. Education assistance needs to expand – to be ready to change.”

10.15pm: The crowd is introduced to Wongani Nyirenda, who says: “This year I was so happy to meet Rihanna at my school in Malawi.

“I told them I want to be a businessman when I am older – but this future would only be possible for me and my friends with help from our global leaders.”

He’s very excited as he gets the chance to introduce Shakira back on to the stage.

9.50pm: Theirworld is right in the thick of the action backstage tonight at the Global Citizen Festival. Pictured in the tweet below is Jessica Bryant – our campaigner on the ground in Germany – with our Chief Advisor Justin van Fleet, centre, and a couple of very recognisable faces – singing superstar Shakira and Gordon Brown.

9.30pm: On the stage is 19-year-old Muzoon Almellehan, UNICEF’s youngest ever Goodwill Ambassador and a Syrian refugee. She calls for education, health and safety for all children affected by conflict.

“When I first left my home, education gave me hope to move forward,” she says. Muzoon reveals Australia has committed to helping the Education Cannot Wait fund for schooling in emergencies.

She thanks the campaigners for their efforts and adds: “Let’s continue this work until every child everywhere can go to school.”

Global Citizen Festival Muzoon Almellehan Right With Activist Nadia Mulrod

Muzoon Almellehan, right, with activist Nadia Mulrod, centre, and Singer and actor Demi Lovato on the stage

8.45pm: Here’s Shakira and Coldplay singer Chris Martin performing at tonight’s concert. The picture was tweeted by the Education Commission, which came up with the plan to create an International Finance Facility for Education (IFFEd) to get every child into school by 2030.

And they even linked to Theirworld’s “Sign with Shakira” petition, which sends a message to the G20 leaders to back the IFFEd. Thanks guys!

7.45pm: Theirworld meets up with Hector Timerman, the Minister for Foreign Affairs from Argentina, backstage at the concert and tells him about the more than 145,000 people and 30 leading organisations who have supported the call for G20 leaders to back education.

The South American country will have the presidency of the G20 in 2018 and have already shown their support for education by hosting a Safe Schools Declaration conference in Buenos Aires in March.

Argentina Minister Hector Timerman With Jessica Bryant At Global Citizen Concert

Hector Timerman with Theirworld’s International Media Manager Jessica Bryant

7.20pm: The Global Citizen Festival is underway. Among those on the top-notch bill are Coldplay, Pharrell Williams, Ellie Goulding and German star Herbert Gronemeyer. 

The invited audience of 12,000 campaigners will be treated to an amazing evening of music and speeches.

6.45pm: Everyone’s going to have a ball tonight at the Global Citizen Festival where – between the big-name music acts – education campaigner and singing superstar Shakira will talk to the crowd about the need to get every child in school.

And here are another couple of major figures in Hamburg tonight who have been instrumental in getting education high up on the global agenda. Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Gordon Brown, the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, are both key players in the Education Commission and will be speaking at the concert.

The commission is a group of leaders and experts who investigated the funding of global education and came up with the bold plan for the International Finance Facility for Education (IFFEd). If approved by the G20 leaders, it could unlock $10 billion per year.

Erna Solberg And Gordon Brown Prepare For Global Citizen Festival

Erna Solberg and Gordon Brown meet up in Hamburg today

6pm: Working together, we’ve managed to get education on the agenda for the G20 summit. That’s something to shout about.

4.30pm: For the past few weeks and months, we’ve been campaigning for IFFEd to make big change happen and get tens of millions of children into school and learning.

Now campaigners and organisations have come together to tell the G20 that they have the potential to do something huge in Hamburg by giving education the backing it needs.

That message will ring out loud and clear when Shakira and other guest speakers address the crowd at the Global Citizen Festival.

3pm: Singer and education campaigner Shakira is in Hamburg – ready to take to the stage at tonight’s Global Citizen Festival, where she’ll be on stage with Coldplay.

2.15pm: Calls for the G20 to fund education have arrived in Hamburg with Jessica Bryant, Theirworld’s campaigner on the ground. Petitions supporting education and a call to support the IFFEd funding plan were signed by more than 145,000 people.

Jessica Bryant And Justin Van Fleet With G20 Petition Signatures At Hamburg

Jessica Bryant, Theirworld’s International Media Manager, at the Hamburg station near the G20 summit venue with Justin van Fleet, Director of the Education Commission and Chief Advisor to Theirworld

They were also supported by Shakira, together with charities and organisations including Theirworld, ONE, Global Citizen, Save the Children, Avaaz, Malala Fund, Islamic Relief, VSO and World Vision.

The calls to action will be presented to world leaders.

1.45pm: There’s heavy security as some of the best-known faces on the planet arrive in Hamburg. They include summit host Angela Merkel from Germany, Donald Trump from the US, Xi Jinping from China, Theresa May from the UK, Vladimir Putin from Russia, Justin Trudeau from Canada, Emmanuel Macron from France and Narendra Modi from India.

The Global Citizen Festival 2


They won’t get to see much of this cosmopolitan city, which is one of the most popular travel destinations in Germany. Almost two million people live in Hamburg, which is both beautiful and an economic powerhouse. Its best known district is St. Pauli, where you can find the famous Reeperbahn, the highest density of live clubs in Europe and FC St. Pauli FC, one of Hamburg’s two major football teams.

THAT is the liberating power of education. THAT is what is on the agenda of the G20. THAT will be missing from your social media feed and news headlines.

12.15pm: The powerful words above are from a blog published today on the Huffington Post by Theirworld’s Director of Campaigns, Ben Hewitt. It’s titled “The hidden agenda of the G20: global education”. Read it here.

He’s not the only one with strong views. Theirworld’s Global Youth Ambassadors are an inspiring network of 500 young activists who spread the word about education in more than 80 countries. One of them has written this open letter to the G20 leaders about the need for preschool education to give children the best start in life.

And here’s what some of our other GYAs hope they will see come out of the talks in Hamburg. 

11am: 20 of the world’s most powerful leaders are descending on Hamburg for the G20 summit, which starts tomorrow. The next couple of days could be crucial for the future of tens of millions of children who are denied education or quality early years care.

Theirworld and many other leading organisations have been campaigning for a bold new funding plan that could help huge numbers of children into school. 

We’ve been supported by tens of thousands of people who are telling the G20 they have the potential to do something huge in Hamburg – by giving education the backing it needs.

The plan is called the International Finance Facility for Education – and it could unlock more than $10 billion a year. Find out how.

You can still do your bit to help this vital cause…

With the G20 talks officially kicking off tomorrow, the focus today will be on two things. Tonight in Hamburg, the Global Citizen Festival will be attended by 12,000 people who have been given free tickets for their campaigning work, such as signing petitions, sharing messages on social media and writing letters to politicians.

Theirworld will be at the event, where acts include Coldplay, Pharrell Williams, Ellie Goulding and German star Herbert Gronemeyer. Plus a very special guest – the singer and education campaigner Shakira.

Global Citizen Festival Lineup

The line-up for today’s star-studded concert (Global Citizen Festival)

But before that a bunch of very smart people called sherpas have been continuing their behind-the-scenes work. They’re the key advisers to international leaders who meet regularly to prepare the ground for their bosses to make vital decisions that will affect the world. Want to know more about their role and why’re called sherpas?

We’ll have updates later in the day as we count down to the big music event.

Meanwhile, here are 20 things about the G20 summit and why it could help to deliver education for all.

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