Development goals impossible without education for girls says Malala

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Malala Yousafzai (right), UN Messenger of Peace, Nobel Prize laureate, and founder of the Malala Fund, makes remarks during a high-level event on “Financing the Future: Education 2030″. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Not a single one of the ambitious 2030 Sustainable Development Goals can be achieved unless girls across the world receive an education.

That's the firm view of the youngest UN Messenger of Peace ever to be appointed; the children's rights activist and Nobel Laureate, Malala Yousafzai.

She was speaking to a coalition of global leaders and youth at UN Headquarters, as part of the High-Level General Assembly week.

Natalie Hutchison has more.

The meeting was headlined Financing the Future: Education for All, and UN chief António Guterres began proceedings by noting that universal education was "still a distant dream for so many."

He said more than 260 million children, adolescents and youth were out of school, most of them girls.

He highlighted four areas where the international community needed to improve, namely investing more in education; focussing on girls; improving lifelong learning skills and focussing on children caught up in conflict.

Malala Yousafzai delivered a tough message that Global Goal, or SDG, number 4—which promises quality education for all—was in jeopardy, due to lack of new investment.

The 20-year-old, who starts her university career in a few weeks' time, said none of the biggest economies in the Global South had increased education spending since the SDGs were agreed two years ago.

"I cannot say that I am proud of the progress that we have seen in the last two years. We have big goals, but here is the truth: none of the SDGs, not a single one, can be accomplished unless we educate all girls. 130 million girls are out of school today, they're pushing back against poverty, war and child marriage to go to school. The SDGs were a promise that we could fight with these girls. So far, we are failing."

If girls don't go to school, said Malala, they lose the chance to pursue their dreams, "and our world, loses their potential."

Natalie Hutchison, United Nations.

Duration: 1’30″

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