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Charlevoix declaration on quality education for girls, adolescent girls and women in developing countries

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We, the Leaders of the G7, recognize that gender equality is fundamental for the fulfillment of human rights. We placed women and girls at the heart of our G7 agenda because we know social development and sustainable economic growth depend on the full participation of everyone – girls, adolescent girls and women included. We know that inclusive, equitable quality education is fundamental to achieving the empowerment and economic equality of girls and women, especially in developing contexts and countries struggling with conflict. From the earliest years to the end of secondary school and into post-secondary, education, equal opportunities and modern skills are essential to a better life for individuals and society as a whole. A quality education promotes peace and security and drives improved health and life outcomes. We support education, through our development and humanitarian assistance,  that aspires to achieve gender equality. We will work to address barriers that prevent women and girls from accessing education and improve the futures of girls and women in developing countries and crisis situations—because we know this is fundamental to building a better world for all.

We recognize with alarm that at the end of 2016, globally there were 65.5 million forcibly displaced people, over half of whom were under 18, with little to no access to quality education and learning opportunities. For millions of young people, these are the years they should be spending in school, acquiring literacy, numeracy and, ultimately, transferable job skills to allow them to sustain themselves and their families as adults. Instead, they are facing an uncertain future. Girls are disproportionately affected, are more likely to be taken out of school due to displacement-related poverty, are forced to marry early and face sexual and gender-based violence. Girls with disabilities are especially marginalized and particular focus is needed to integrate them into the mainstream of development. Addressing these factors and restoring access to education for all children and youth in conflict and crisis situations, with the shortest delay possible, can pave the way for economic empowerment and a better future.

We, the Leaders of the G7, view girls’ and women’s education as a priority and will continue investing in girls’, adolescent girls’ and women’s quality education in developing countries, including in emergencies and in conflict-affected and fragile states. Building on our existing efforts, we will work with our partners, including developing country governments, UN agencies, civil society organizations, the private sector and global partnerships such as the Global Partnership for Education and Education Cannot Wait, to increase equal access to quality education for girls and women. Throughout, we commit to ensuring that the voices of girls and women are included when making decisions on education and learning. We will further explore linkages between national and international initiatives relating to women, youth, peace and security; in particular, the UN Women, Peace and Security as well as Youth, Peace and Security Agendas.

We commit to:

  1. Close the gap in access to education during conflict and crisis, and for refugees and the internally displaced, both inside and outside camps: We will work to reduce the time that conflict and crisis situations keep children and youth, especially girls, out of school. We will promote, with a view to improve, education opportunities and learning outcomes for refugees, internally-displaced and local girls and women, including in host and source communities.
  2. Improve coordination between humanitarian assistance and development cooperation: We will partner with key humanitarian and development organizations and host governments to promote greater coordination among these organizations. We will ensure commitment to gender equality and prioritize improved access to quality education for girls and women in the early stages of humanitarian response and peacebuilding efforts, while supporting schools as safe spaces for children.

We, the Leaders of the G7, will continue to strengthen efforts to dismantle the barriers to girls’ and women’s education in developing countries. Our investments will support global actions to:

  1. Prepare women for the jobs of the future: We will encourage increased access to quality post-secondary education, foster innovative delivery mechanisms and promote lifelong learning opportunities. Through support to various learning tools, including accessible, market-based skills training and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), we will seek to increase opportunities for women beyond lower-skilled jobs, including in high-growth, higher-wage sectors where women are underrepresented in the work force and in in-demand occupations, such as those in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). We will continue our efforts to increase the number of adolescent girls and women that are technically and vocationally-educated and trained in developing countries. We will strive to overcome the gender digital divide and promote the participation of women in the digital economy.
  2. Improve sex- and age-disaggregated data and accountability: We will work with Sustainable Development Goal 4, 5 and 8 statistical accountability partners to improve the collection, monitoring, analysis, publication and reporting of progress in girls’ and women’s education participation, completion and learning, training and youth employment.
  3. Encourage governments to ensure continuity of education for all: We will encourage the integration of specific measures for girls’ education throughout the education sector plans of our development partners, including planning in anticipation of crisis and conflict situations. We will support schools that provide safe and accessible environments for learning. Not only is school necessary for their continued education in crisis and conflict zones, it provides them with emotional and physical protection while their world is in chaos.
  4. Support innovative education delivery: For especially vulnerable and hard to reach groups, we will support accredited, quality, non-formal and accelerated equal education opportunities which complement formal education. These opportunities create pathways to formal education for girls and women, including those affected by crisis and conflict, and support their attainment of secondary or higher-education degrees.
  5. Increase access to at least 12 years of safe and quality education that promotes gender equality: We will support developing country partners in their efforts to provide equal opportunities for girls and women to complete at least 12 years of quality education from their early years through to secondary school. We will ensure that girls learn basic literacy and numeracy skills in order to progress through education. We will support efforts to promote gender equality in education systems, in part through capacity building throughout the education sector, particularly through teacher training and the recruitment and retention of both female and male qualified teachers with decent pay. We will support gender-sensitive curricula and learning materials that meet quality education standards and promote learning. We support healthcare education which empowers adolescents to avoid sexual risks and prevents early pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, thereby improving the opportunity to thrive into adulthood. We will work to increase access to schools and learning pathways for girls and women, including those who are especially vulnerable and often excluded from school, such as girls with disabilities. We will encourage work with teachers and communities to eliminate violence in schools and support gender equality and healthy relationship development.
  6. Remove barriers to gender equality and to quality primary and secondary education:  We will support actions to make schools and education institutions safe and welcoming for girls and women, including through investments in secure schools. We recognize the importance of safe transportation in crisis and conflict zones. We will support actions to improve access to nutritious foods, eliminate female genital mutilation and end child, early and forced marriage. We will promote access to appropriate healthcare and evidenced-based health information to help girls stay in school. We will support actions that educate parents, caregivers and communities on the value of girls’ education, addressing the opportunity cost of not schooling. We will work to promote incentives for the underserved to defray the costs of schooling in order to keep girls in school.
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