The Green Climate Fund, the Global Partnership for Education and Save the Children launch the world’s largest investment for green schools at COP28

  • Article type Press release
  • Publication date 02 Dec 2023

The Green Climate Fund (GCF), the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and Save the Children have launched today an unprecedented US$70 million investment at COP28 to build climate-resilient schools in vulnerable countries.

Climate change is threatening every child’s right to a quality, safe education. Nearly one billion girls and boys – roughly half the world’s children – live in countries at extremely high risk for the harmful effects of climate change.

Every year, climate events interrupt learning for about 40 million children, a figure likely to rise as the intensity and frequency of weather events increase. Altogether, climate change is likely to displace more than 143 million people by 2050, disrupting the education and psychological wellbeing of millions of children.

To address this growing threat, the world’s two largest funds for climate and education have joined forces with Save the Children and partner governments to help millions of children continue to learn safely. Jointly launched at COP28 in the United Arab Emirates, Building the Climate Resilience of Children and Communities through the Education Sector (BRACE) marks the first major investment of climate finance in the education sector.

This ground-breaking financing mechanism will support education systems in vulnerable countries to construct climate-resilient and green schools, integrate climate change in school curricula and provide climate early warnings to schools.

“This partnership between education and climate action testifies to the urgency of protecting children and their education from the impacts of extreme weather,” said Laura Frigenti, GPE Chief Executive Officer. “To address this daunting challenge, we all need to come together to protect the most vulnerable children and give them the education they need so they can reinforce our fight against climate change.”

Starting with three countries – Cambodia, South Sudan and Tonga – BRACE will increase the resilience of their education systems through retrofitting and constructing greener and more climate-adaptive schools in line with the international School Safety Framework.

Based on results and lessons from these pilot countries, BRACE will expand its investment pool of school infrastructure projects that GCF, GPE and other donors, including the private sector, can contribute to through additional financing for greener and more climate-resilient education systems.

“GCF is proud to partner with GPE and Save the Children to support children in the face of the climate crisis. The proposed $70 million BRACE investment facility will help bridge an urgent investment gap and equip countries to build safer, greener schools, while developing school curricula that empower future generations to be agents of change amid escalating climate impacts,” said GCF Executive Director, Mafalda Duarte.

“We know children are the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, while being the least responsible for its causes,” said Save the Children CEO Inger Ashing.   “This initiative will help make four million school children safer and more resilient. We’re proud to partner to help the education sector adapt to the impacts of climate change and keep children safe and learning. It’s a landmark announcement and the first major investment of climate finance in education, including for the Green Climate Fund.”

Note to editors:

  • The Green Climate Fund is the world’s largest dedicated climate fund. GCF’s mandate is to foster a paradigm shift towards low emission, climate-resilient development pathways in developing countries.  GCF has a portfolio of $13.5 billion USD ($51.8 billion USD including co-financing) delivering transformative climate action in more than 120 countries. It also has a readiness support programme that builds capacity and helps countries develop long-term plans to fight climate change. GCF is an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and serves the 2015 Paris Agreement, supporting the goal of keeping average global temperature rise well below 2°C.
  • The Global Partnership for Education is a shared commitment to ending the world’s learning crisis. GPE mobilizes partners and funds to support nearly 90 lower-income countries to transform their education systems so that every girl and boy can get the quality education they need to unlock their full potential and contribute to building a better world.
  • As the world’s leading child rights organisation, Save the Children works in 116 countries, tackling climate across everything we do. Through broad collaboration and robust investment, we are rapidly responding to climate related crises and helping build resilience across the world. We support farming families to grow food sustainably and for the long-term, even in the face of our climate crisis, and we provide cash grants, so families can buy food and other essentials. This helps them build basic safety nets, so they don’t have to take desperate measures like pulling children out of school or force their daughters into marriage. We also future-proof communities by providing tools to help them become more resilient to future climate emergencies such as cyclones or droughts.