New York: H H Sheikha Moza bint Nasser spoke at a Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Advocacy Group Meeting during the 69th UN General Assembly session to align resources to transform the lives of millions of children.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for an end to the unfinished business of the MDGs and welcomed the international partners and MDG Advocates to the high-level event to discuss the challenges and opportunities of achieving the MDGs to deliver a healthier, equitable and more sustainable future.
In her remarks, Sheikha Moza reconfirmed her commitment to push for universal primary education for all. “When the Secretary-General entrusted me with this mission, I was inspired to do what I could, to offer a chance to the 58 million out of school children across the world,” she said.
Marginalised children affected by conflict and crises are a long-standing priority for Sheikha Moza. She spoke of the hope she saw on visiting a number of projects supported by Educate A Child, an initiative launched in 2012 which has already committed support to 2.5 million children in 33 countries.
The programme works with local communities to overcome barriers to education and develops solutions that can be scaled up and replicated. The goal is to support 10 million children into school by the end of the 2015-2016 school year.
In her closing remarks, Sheikha Moza argued that basic education was key to overcoming other development challenges and called for international support.
“We know that basic education improves health outcomes, reduces involvement in conflict, enhances employment and can benefit countries’ GDP. With sufficient increases in funding and enough commitment, we could make the issue of out of school children a thing of the past. Yet, until universal primary education is achieved, out-of-school children will be an unforgivable underinvestment in human capital — a costly barrier preventing nations from reaching their full economic and social potential.”
Sheikha Moza also contributed to the MDG Advocates’ Leaders Report, which was launched yesterday. Entitled “Accelerating Action: Global Leaders on Challenges and Opportunities for MDG Achievement”, the Leaders Report is authored by 37 world leaders looking at successful policies and interventions championed by governments and partners to drive progress on the MDGs, as well as obstacles faced and actions taken to overcome them.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivered the opening remarks. Other speakers included Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and other MDG Advocates. Graca Machel, Ray Chambers, Ted Turner, Professor Muhammad Yunus, Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Stine Bosse, Philippe Douste-Blazy, and Ambassador Dho Young-shim.
The event was also attended by Roll Back Malaria Executive Director Dr Fatoumata Nafo-Traori, South African singer and RBM Goodwill Ambassador Yvonne Chaka Chaka, and Gordon Brown. UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson delivered closing remarks.