“Giving girls the chance to learn to read and write is one of the most important things we can do to increase their opportunities in life. And let’s not forget that education is a human right,” said Mr Solheim.
The financial support will be channelled through the United Nations Children’s Fund over the next two years and will mean an NOK 60 million increase in the funds allocated to UNICEF’s efforts to provide education for girls and for children in states affected by conflict.
At the same time the Government will increase its support to Education for All through the World Bank’s EFA – Fast Track Initiative by NOK 45 million to NOK 140 million next year.
One of the UN’s eight Millennium Development Goals is to ensure primary education for all girls and boys by 2015.
“We now have seven years to ensure that the 72 million children who are not receiving education today get this opportunity. Most of these are girls. A very large proportion of these children also live in countries that are affected by conflict. Education gives children a chance to break out of the vicious circle of poverty,” said Mr Solheim.
The Government has also previously provided support for education initiatives like Save the Children’s initiative Rewrite the Future aimed at providing education for children in areas affected by wars and conflicts.
Norway has for many years provided support for education. Of the total funding for education of NOK 1.575 billion in 2007, NOK 689 million was channelled through the UN organisations UNICEF and UNESCO and through the World Bank, while NOK 886 million was allocated as bilateral aid.
In December this year Norway is hosting the Education for All High-Level Meeting in cooperation with UNESCO, to further explore how the goal of providing education for all can be achieved.