Wednesday, September 9th, 2020

Can’t allow COVID-19 pandemic to become a children’s crisis: Ambassador Fatima

Published 10:39 pm | September 09, 2020

dainik somoy sangbad

Online Desk : Permanent Representative of Bangladesh and Executive Board President of UNICEF Ambassador Rabab Fatima has said the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on essential services and regular programmes for the children is a matter of serious concern.

“We can’t allow the pandemic to become a children’s crisis,” she said while addressing the opening segment of the Second Regular Session of the UNICEF Board in New York on Tuesday, reports UNB.

She highlighted the dire consequences facing the children across the globe due to the COVID-19 pandemic with reports of over 80 million children pushed into extreme poverty, 1.6 billon going out of school, 80 million under the age of 1 missing out on life-saving vaccines, and 36 million children going hungry.

Ambassador Fatima thanked the UNICEF staff members across the world for their dedicated and tireless efforts in responding to this extraordinary situation.

She stressed on the importance of creative thinking and innovative solutions to adapt their programmes and close collaboration with other agencies for tackling this unprecedented crisis.

The Ambassador called upon UNICEF to make access to online and distance learning a top priority now in line with the thematic focus on education of the country programme documents during this session.

Putting to the fore the success stories of initiatives such as GIGA, launched by UNICEF and ITU to connect every school to the Internet and every young person to information, she urged the partners to contribute to this noble cause with their expertise and funding.

Underscoring that girls are at particular risk in Covid-19, she called for more investment in girls’ education for ensuring “their advancement; their dignity; and protecting them from exploitation”.

She highlighted the importance of unlocking full potentials of women and girls by removing different barriers including gender-based violence and discrimination, lack of awareness and facilities of menstrual health and hygiene etc.

The Ambassador also emphasised the importance of drowning prevention.

Identifying it as a leading cause of global mortality among 1-14 years old with more than 320,000 deaths every year, Ambassador Fatima called upon UNICEF to strengthen its advocacy work on drowning prevention at the country level, together with WHO and other agencies, as well as NGOs.

The opening session was addressed, among others, by Henrietta H Fore, UNICEF Executive Director who gave a comprehensive overview of the works of, as well as the challenges faced by, the UNICEF.

This was followed by country statements from Permanent Representatives and delegates from member states across the world.

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