About the Global Education First Initiative

The United Nations Secretary-General launched the five-year Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) in September 2012 to accelerate progress towards the Education for All goals and the education-related Millennium Development Goals. The Initiative aims to:

  • Rally together a broad spectrum of actors for the final push to 2015;
  • Put quality, relevant and transformative education at the heart of the social, political and development agendas;
  • Generate additional and sufficient funding for education through sustained global advocacy efforts.



Partners include UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women, UN Special Envoy for Global Education, World Bank, Global Partnership for Education, Educate A Child, Education International, Global Campaign for Education as well as philanthropic and business institutions.

GEFI’s Steering Committee is a high-level body that provides strategic direction and guidance to the Secretary-General to ensure visibility and success of the Initiative.

The UN Secretary-General invited a group of Member States to serve as ‘Champion Countries’ for GEFI. Their role is to catalyze political and financial support for education among governments.

The Youth Advocacy Group (YAG), comprised of young people from around the world, promotes the priorities of youth and GEFI activities and messages. 

As the GEFI Secretariat, UNESCO provides overall support to the Initiative. 

“Without universal education, in other words, winning the war against illiteracy and ignorance, we cannot also win the war against disease, squalor and unemployment. Without universal and high standard education we can only go so far but not far enough in breaking the cycle of poverty.” – Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education


Within the global development landscape of acceleration efforts towards 2015 and post 2015 agenda setting, GEFI  is guided by a two-year strategic plan and action framework to: 

  • Advocate for a broader and more ambitious vision for education at the core of the post 2015 agenda;
  • Broaden outreach and engagement on global citizenship education with a focus on learning and teaching for sustainable development; and
  • Advocate for closing the financing gap in education and for smarter funds allocation to reach the populations most in need, especially those in emergency situations.

    We have to keep the pressure on -- because investing in education is the single best way to beat poverty, to drive growth, and to promote more inclusive and peaceful societies. There’s no better way, and that’s what this Initiative is about!” – Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General and Executive Secretary of the GEFI High-Level Steering


Download the brochure
 English, Arabic, French, Spanish

Back to top