Coalition slashes funding to Global Partnership for Education

Today Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced that the government would be committing $140 million to the Global Partnership for Education’s latest replenishment round. You can read more about the GPE in this interview I conducted with their CEO Alice Albright last month. This represents close to a halving of Australia’s $270 million commitment to the previous replenishment. Australia has been the fourth largest donor to GPE to date, and gave the second largest contribution to the last replenishment round.

Such a high contribution in the last replenishment was out of line with Australia’s donor ranking (currently 8th in OECD donors), which may have something to do with the reduction this time around. With the aid budget now frozen at $5 billion, a reduction was also probably expected by the sector, but perhaps not of this volume.

But how did the overall replenishment fare? The replenishment was aiming to secure $3.5 billion in contributions from donors, double that of their last replenishment. Their outcome document, however, reveals that a total of $2.1 billion was actually secured. As we can see in the chart below, the donor profile has changed substantially between the two replenishments. Australia now ranks 5th overall in terms of contributions from bilateral donors, and 6th when including the EU. Clearly some EU members contributions have now been rolled into the total EU figures. Interestingly, Canada has also completely pulled out of funding the GPE (or at least a contribution was not announced at the replenishment).

GPE replenishment contributions (US ‘000s)


Overall this modest increase is not a terrible result for the GPE, but certainly not what they were hoping for. The last GPE replenishment also achieved almost $500 million in additional funding after the replenishment weekend closed, so it’s likely we will see this final figure for the 2014 replenishment creep upwards in the weeks to come.

GPE has shown positive performance in both Australia and the UK’s assessments of multilateral agencies, but has been subject to a severe critique this week by former New York Times and Wall Street Journal journalists.

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Jonathan Pryke

Jonathan Pryke worked at the Development Policy Centre from 2011, and left in mid-2015 to join the Lowy Institute, where he is now Director of the Pacific Islands Program. He has a Master of Public Policy/Master of Diplomacy from Crawford School of Public Policy and the College of Diplomacy, ANU.

1 Comment

  • It is RIGHT that the Australian Government cut its aid to GPE. It should FREEZE its aid. No criticism of Julia Gillard, who is new to GPE and just doesn’t yet understand what a Potemkin Village the organization is. But she needs to get up to speed – fast, or her reputation will be damaged. GPE is NOT focused on RESULTS and peer-reviewed evaluation and monitoring which would reveal how little children are learning as the result of the hundreds of millions of dollars spent, now totally in billions! It is a disgrace. The original idea was for a small secretariat for GPE of say 10, max. TODAY it has 70 (!) staff, who even at this high number, do NOT have expertise at assessing learning! Plus dozens of consultants for p.r. and communication, etc. The CEO earns $400,000 plus, and it’s top managers $250K-300K gross. It’s reducing poverty, all right…… one World Bank salary at a time. And where are the WB “supervisors” who are responsible for this trust fund? Specifically the Director of Education of the World Bank?? What are they DOING about this. They are complicit in this mess. They are absent without leave and afraid to criticise. It is heartbreaking to think of how much money could help young kids to learn, especially girls, and which goes down the drain into first-world salaries worthy of banking executives. Again, read this detailed critique of GPE by the respected, published just this week and the truly pathetic responses of Australian major figure at GPE Charles Tapp. disgrace.

    Click on this link. And look at The Washington Post reports on the COO who Alice Albright appointed last summer!

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