On 24 September, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, took part in an event on “Children and the SDGs: Giving every Child a Chance” hosted by the World Childhood Foundation, in collaboration with Mentor International and the Swedish Mission to the United Nations, held at the UN Headquarters in New York.
With Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden, the event saw speeches by Former First Lady of South Africa and Mozambique, Graca Machal, H.E. Janette Kagame, first lady of Rwanda, Jan Eliasson, the Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, as well as Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Kailash Satyarthi, Jeffrey Sachs and Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, as well as a range of private sector companies, including Ericsson. Actress and activist Uma Thurman also attended.
Chaired by Robyn Curnow of CNN, the event sought to explore the role of government, civil society, academia and the private sector in mobilizing political will and investments so that every child can develop to his or her full potential.
“The connection between children’s well-being and the Sustainable Development Goals is crystal clear,” declared the Director-General. “The latter will not succeed without the former.”
“The journey starts on the benches of schools,” she said, "and it must involve powerful partnerships for innovation, connecting governments, civil society and the private sector."
The Director-General said the rights of children were a bridge between the MDGs and the new SDGs that has to be crossed.
"The focus must fall on the most vulnerable -- on the 58 million children out of school in conflicts, especially on girls all over the world."
“We must do everything to support them – this is key to the success of all efforts” said Irina Bokova.
"The face of the SDGs must be a young adolescent girl," said the Director-General, "in school, in safety, not married off, able to aspire to follow her dreams."