Adolescent girls should be free to define their lives: UN

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Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), chairs the event. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

Girls should be free to define their lives and enjoy their rights, the head of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) said on Friday.

The UN believes that the 600 million adolescent girls in the world today represent a huge untapped potential and that they can help drive economic growth.

Jocelyne Sambira reports.

World leaders and experts gathered at the UN in New York to discuss how investing in adolescent girls can ensure the new UN global goals are met, otherwise known as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Their focus is on education and the sexual reproductive health rights of adolescent girls.

Globally, around 15 million girls marry before they turn18 and 7 million babies are born to adolescent mothers in developing countries, says UNFPA.

Executive Director, Babatunde Osotimehin says the success of the global goals hinges on creating a world where girls have no limits on their aspirations.

"When girls are free to define their lives and enjoy their rights, they not only enjoy better health and their children, they better contribute to national development as economic actors and entrepreneurs helping their countries reap the demographic dividend and driving economic growth. As leaders of both today and tomorrow, they can be a force for social cohesion, progress and peace."

The event is being held ahead of the annual gathering of the UN body dedicated to the promotion of gender equality, or Commission on the Status on Women (CSW).

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’34″

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