A far greater proportion of resources needs to be targeted towards pre-primary education. This means a new approach to funding is needed to tackle the problem. It is time for governments and the international community to back up their words with actions. If they believe early child care and education is important - they must prove it. Prioritise it in education policies and allocate sufficient resources to get EVERY child in EVERY country into free, quality pre-primary education.
The voices we heard in 2016 delivered unexpected political outcomes but I am not sure that we have yet fully understood what the message was. What is abundantly clear is that many people feel short-changed on hope. They want action. We must challenge our current circumstances both by acknowledging where we are and by calling for more and for better - better government, better funding and fairness, better life chances.Following an extraordinary year, here are my revised campaign priorities for the changed world in which we now live.
The Importance of Investing in Girls' Education Seems to Have Dawned, at Long Last, on the International Community
80million children had their education affected by conflicts and natural disasters in 2015. Girls are particularly disadvantaged being 2.5 times more likely to be out of school than boys in countries affected by conflict. Alas, the devastating news does not stop there: the situation is getting worse instead of better due to increasingly dangerous geopolitics around the globe. We need to act urgently to ensure that girls are protected and don't become the immediate casualties each time a new crisis unfolds.
From left: Sylvia, Zoe and Sarah Brown at Sarah and Sylvia's civil partnership ceremony “It was a case of just kind of baby
Lebanon has seen its population increase by 25% with 1.2million Syrians fleeing over the boarder to safety. This autumn nearly 200,000 Syrian refugee children in Lebanon have gone back to school as a result of the shift system, many for the first time since the conflict began, and during my visit, I wanted to see the difference this has made to their lives.
Today some 60million children still do not see a single day at school. We must look at what we did right and what we did wrong in order to move forward with energy and purpose and not break promises again.
We have an opportunity in Nepal to apply the best of what we have learned globally to be a partner saving lives and enabling the Nepali people to rebuild their country. The coordination of some of the greatest humanitarian and development leadership of our time will not only save lives, it can lead to increased resilience for the Nepali people. This will require that we leave 'business as usual' by prioritising and funding education in this response. And we should leave it behind permanently by creating a Global Humanitarian Fund for Education in Emergencies and increasing our ability to rapidly respond, coordinate and deliver education in ways that save lives now and for many years to come.
We must continue to fight for the rights of workers everywhere by ensuring that no one should be coerced or forced into unsafe work - especially not children - because that is all that is available to them. The children of the Rana Plaza disaster should be managing the factories of the future and their children should have options that those brave men and women never dreamed of. We will not get there until we ensure that all children everywhere have access to an education.
Justine Miliband is set to come out of the shadows to support her husband, Ed, in his bid to reach Downing Street next year
Increasingly the attention on girls and women at the heart of social and economic development means that how girls are educated and what skills women bring to the workplace come to the fore. I have just returned from a remote and rural part of northern Ghana where I travelled with Sport Relief to see how the education projects they support - Voluntary Service Overseas and Afrikids, are making a difference for marginalised and vulnerable children.