In 1996, the International Commission of Education in the Twenty First Century, headed by former European Commission President Jacques Delors, submitted a report to UNESCO entitled Learning: the Treasure from Within. The report recommended that 6% of gross domestic product should be allocated to education. This is known as the UNESCO Delors benchmark.

The Education For All Fast Track Initiative (FTI) recommends that education spending should constitute at least 20% of total government spending.

These benchmarks were later adopted by the Education for All High-Level Group in the Jomtien Statement (2011) and in 2015 reaffirmed by the Incheon Declaration and Framework for Action.