On the eve of the G7 Education and Development ministerial meeting happening in Paris, and attended by G5 Sahel and Senegal ministers, 60 civil society organizations around the world call on G7 leaders to urgently address the obstacles to achieving the goal of at least 12 years of free and quality education for all, without discrimination.

262 million children and young people are still out of school. Fight against global warming, improving access to health, reducing inequalities including gender: without progress in education, none of these objectives can be achieved.

The organizations welcome the G7 Education and Development agenda and the focus on girls' education and vocational training for young people in sub-Saharan Africa and the Sahel. But the universal goal of secondary education by 2030 remains today idealistic.

To achieve universal secondary school completion by 2030, all children should have enrolled in primary school in 2018, yet the intake rate in low income countries was 73% in 2016 (UNESCO). This is why organizations are now calling on G7 countries to increase efforts and funding for quality basic education, targeting the poorest, most vulnerable and people living in countries affected by fragility and conflicts.

This is a transformative moment. Change needs to happen now. State resources must prioritise the acquisition of basic learning needs in the least developed countries, including sub-Saharan Africa and the Sahel, where education needs are most acute. Sustainable investments are needed to ensure a better future for the most vulnerable girls and boys.

In Sub-Saharan Africa education needs are the most acute. Of the more than 72 million girls and boys currently out of primary school, 50 percent are living in this region. Inequalities within these countries are chronic barriers.

Not only education is a human right, but it is a leverage to promote gender equality, inclusive health, peaceful societies, the  fight against climate change and the protection of children. The G7 countries have a fundamental role to play in promoting education as a central goal for achieving the other SDGs.

The recommendations to the G7 countries, endorsed by 60 civil society organizations, to ensure that every child in the world receives a quality education are available here:

Education: the catalyst for an equitable & transformative G7. Recommendations