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화요일, 10월 27, 2020

UN Report The World’s Women 2020 - Statistics and Trends: UN Report's Section on FGM

 Did you know that at least 200 million girls and women have undergone Female Genital Mutilation or FGM? FGM is included in the UN Sustainable Development Goal 5 Gender Equality. The practice of FGM is decreasing but still has a high prevalence in Northern Africa, Eastern Africa and West Africa. COVID-19 may also affect the progress toward elimination due to interruptions in programs. Below are the sections of the United Nations’ recent report, World’ Women 2020 Trends and Statistics, which reveals updated data on the current situation of FGM. The full section on FGM can be found here. Also check out the other 99 stories on the assessment of progress of gender equality in six critical areas here.

Female genital mutilation

Key points

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO), at least 200 million girls and women have undergone FGM based on recent data from 31 countries.

FGM is slowly declining in some countries and subregions where the practice is prevalent.

Despite recent progress, the prevalence of FGM remains alarmingly high in parts of Northern Africa, Eastern Africa and West Africa.

Because COVID-19 is interrupting programmes to end FGM, progress may be threatened.

Progress in the elimination of FGM is not universal, and where it is taking place it is not fast enough. Even in countries where the practice has become less common, progress would need to be at least 10 times faster to meet the global target of its elimination by 2030.

Based on the latest available data, in six countries at least 3 out of every 4 women and adolescent girls aged 15–19 have undergone FGM.


Female genital mutilation is a violation of the human rights of girls and women that affects girls and women worldwide. There is a large body of literature documenting the adverse health consequences of female genital mutilation over both the short and long term: the practice is a direct manifestation of gender inequality, which “constitutes irreparable, irreversible harm and is an act of violence against women and girls”.

While the practice is most concentrated in countries in Africa, from the Atlantic coast across to the Horn of Africa, it is also practiced in countries in the Middle East, such as Iraq and Yemen, in some countries in Asia, and also in some communities in Australia, Europe and Northern America.

Female genital mutilation is condemned in international treaties and conventions, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the Cairo Declaration for the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation.

Furthermore, since FGM is regarded as a traditional practice prejudicial to the health of children and is, in most cases, performed on minors, it violates the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In many countries national legislation includes an explicit ban on the practice.

Current Situation

With its inclusion under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 5.3, which is aimed at the elimination of this harmful practice by 2030, FGM holds a prominent position on the global development agenda. Although the practice has persisted for centuries, it is becoming less common, with a marked decline reported in countries such as Egypt where it was once universal, as well as in countries such as Kenya, where the practice is restricted to specific ethnic communities.

Prevalence rates of FGM vary significantly by country. The latest available data on the proportion of adolescent girls aged 15-49 years who have undergone FGM or cutting are shown by country in figure I, which highlights the fact that, despite recent progress, the prevalence of FGM remains alarmingly high in parts of Northern Africa and West Africa. Moreover, the onset of COVID-19 has interrupted programmes to end FGM, which could threaten progress towards the elimination of the practice.

Such declines at the country level have contributed to a reduction in regional rates over the past 15 years. In Northern Africa, the proportion of adolescent girls aged 15–19 years who have undergone FGM or cutting decreased by 17.5%, from 91.4% in 2004 to 73.9% in 2019. In sub-Saharan Africa, its prevalence decreased by 9.6%, from 34.5% to 24.9%, over the same time period (see figure II).

Figure III shows data for the 18 countries with a decline in the percentage of adolescent girls who have undergone FGM over the course of the past 30 years.

Figure IV highlights the seven countries where the prevalence of FGM either remains persistently high or where no significant decline has been observed over the same time period.

Progress has been extremely slow in Guinea and Somalia, where the practice remains almost universal and where at least 9 in 10 women and adolescent girls aged 15–19 years have been cut. Based on the latest available data, in six countries at least 3 out of every 4 women and adolescent girls aged 15–19 have undergone FGM.

Progress in the elimination of FGM is not universal, and where there is progress it is not fast enough. Even in countries where the practice has become less common, progress would need to be at least 10 times faster to meet the global target of its elimination by 2030.

Legislative environment
FGM is widely condemned in both international treaties and conventions as well as under national legislation in many countries.

Vulnerable groups
The risk faced by women and adolescent girls aged 15–19 of undergoing FGM is highly dependent on context, with ethnicity playing a particularly strong role in determining whether they will be cut.

Country in focus
In Kenya, where the practice has been banned under law since 2011, 4 in 10 women and adolescent girls have undergone FGM, although the variation across ethnic groups is dramatic; the practice is still prevalent among some ethnicities (for example, among the Somali population, where it is estimated to be 94%), but almost non-existent among others (including both the Luhya and Luo ethnicities, where it is less than 1%).


월요일, 10월 19, 2020

[Opinion] Ban Ki-Moon: Returning to Multilateralism

The UN headquarters in New York /Xinhua

COVID-19 has shone a light on the acute vulnerabilities of a deeply interconnected world. No country, regardless of its size, wealth, or technological sophistication, can tackle this crisis alone.

Owing to the pandemic, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly this month is being held under exceptional circumstances, with heads of state participating "virtually" rather than traveling to New York City. The unique nature of this year's gathering should serve as a reminder that the only way to overcome the threat of COVID-19 is through international cooperation, transparency, and adherence to shared rules and regulations.

It is a poignant irony that the pandemic has struck on the UN's 75th anniversary. Born from the wreckage of World War II – a wholly human-made calamity – the world's premier international forum embodied post-war leaders' determination that future generations must be spared from the kind of suffering they had witnessed.

In the Middle East and other conflict-riven regions, the UN and its principles of multilateral cooperation remain indispensable for finding long-term, sustainable solutions that will guarantee peace, stability, and prosperity. The principles of international law are the bedrock of our global order, providing a crucial framework for defending rights and exercising power in the face of global challenges.

We can see this clearly in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which has lasted for almost as long as the UN itself. The best solution will be two states – Israel and Palestine – for the two peoples, based on the internationally recognized pre-1967 borders and in accordance with UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 2334, among others.

The recent establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and two Gulf countries, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, is a significant political development that I hope can help overcome decades of estrangement and mistrust. But I still believe that the only way to achieve true "normalization" between Israel and the Arab world is for all parties to work toward a durable two-state solution that delivers peace, justice, dignity and security to Palestinians and Israelis alike. People's inalienable rights should never be bartered away by others.

In 1945, many hoped that the world had finally learned the lessons of two disastrous world wars. In the words of the UN Charter, the body was created to "save succeeding generations from the scourge of war," and to pursue peaceful and inclusive paths to global prosperity and democracy. The web of UN-centered international covenants and institutions that have been established since then is far from perfect. Yet, for more than seven decades, it has decisively supported the pursuit of peace, security, human rights, and economic and social improvements around the world.

To highlight this legacy, The Elders – a group of independent global leaders founded by Nelson Mandela, of which I have the honor to serve as Deputy Chair – recently released a report on the defense of multilateralism. In it, we issued five calls to action for today's leaders:

Recommit to the values of the UN Charter;

Empower the UN to fulfill its mandate for collective action on peace and security;

Strengthen health systems to tackle COVID-19 and prepare for future pandemics;

Demonstrate greater ambition on climate change to meet the Paris Agreement targets;

Mobilize support for all the Sustainable Development Goals.

All countries must recognize that the only way to achieve these objectives is through effective multilateralism, which is ultimately in everyone's interest. More often than not, the UN's failure to meet its stated goals has been the result of member states – particularly but not exclusively the five permanent members of the Security Council (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China) – not meeting their responsibilities. When countries place narrow national interests above common priorities, everyone loses out.

To be sure, this past July, I welcomed the UN Security Council's unanimous adoption of Resolution 2532, which called for a global ceasefire to avert further humanitarian catastrophes in the context of the pandemic. I also strongly supported this initiative when UN Secretary-General António Guterres first proposed it in March. Yet I was disappointed to see so many valuable months wasted in arguments over the details of the text.

Squabbles over semantics in the face of bloody conflicts and an unprecedented pandemic sent a terrible message to the global public. Beyond the direct health effects, the economic fallout from the crisis will be long-lasting and severe, creating ripple effects that will be felt in many fragile and conflict-affected parts of the world for some time to come. This was no time to play diplomatic hardball.

Since then, the World Food Program has warned that we may be headed for the worst humanitarian crisis since WWII, with as many as 600,000 children likely to die from famine and malnutrition in hard-hit countries like Yemen, Somalia, Nigeria, and South Sudan.

The COVID-19 crisis is a somber reminder of our common human bonds and vulnerabilities. If we fail to respond to the pandemic and other shared threats with a renewed sense of solidarity and collective action, we will have dishonored the victims of the virus and betrayed the hopes that the UN's founding generation had for us.

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2020.

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월요일, 9월 28, 2020

UN report highlights links between ‘unprecedented biodiversity loss’ and spread of disease

On September 15, 2020, the fifth edition of the UN’s Global Biodiversity Outlook Report was released. This global report is based on a review of about 15,000 scientific and government sources and was compiled by 145 experts from 50 countries. The continued degradation of the environment such as deforestation, overfishing, bush meant hunting and poaching, climate change, and pollution is threatening one million species into extinction in the next few years. It is also increasing the likelihood of diseases spreading from animals to humans. Despite the ominous state of biodiversity, several recommendations are given to reverse the negative effects. These findings will be taken up by the Heads of State at the Summit on Biodiversity to be held virtually on September 30. Read below to learn more.

UN report highlights links between ‘unprecedented biodiversity loss’ and spread of disease

Source: UN Environment Programme, Coral Reefs restoration at the coast of Banaire in the Caribbean.

The fifth edition of the UN’s Global Biodiversity Outlook report, published by the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD), provides an authoritative overview of the state of nature worldwide. 

The report notes the importance of biodiversity in addressing climate change, and long-term food security, and concludes that action to protect biodiversity is essential to prevent future pandemics. 

Wake-up call

The study acts as a wake-up call, and an encouragement to consider the dangers involved in mankind’s current relationship with nature: continued biodiversity loss, and the ongoing degradation of ecosystems, are having profound consequences of human wellbeing and survival.

“As nature degrades,” said Elizabeth Mrema, Executive Director of the Convention on Biological Diversity, “new opportunities emerge for the spread to humans and animals of devastating diseases like this year’s coronavirus. The window of time available is short, but the pandemic has also demonstrated that transformative changes are possible when they must be made.”

Ten-year targets missed

This year’s study is considered to be particularly significant, because it serves as a “final report card” for the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, a series of 20 objectives set out in 2010, at the beginning of the UN’s Decade on Biodiversity, most of which were supposed to be reached by the end of this year.

However, none of the targets – which concern the safeguarding of ecosystems, and the promotion of sustainability – have been fully met, and only six are deemed to have been “partially achieved”. 

“Earth’s living systems as a whole are being compromised”, said Ms. Mrema, “and the more humanity exploits nature in unsustainable ways and undermines its contributions to people, the more we undermine our own well-being, security and prosperity.”

Although the lack of success in meeting the targets is a cause for concern, the authors of the Outlook are at pains to stress that virtually all countries are now taking some steps to protect biodiversity, without which the state of the world’s biodiversity would be considerably worse. 

The bright spots include falling rates of deforestation, the eradication of invasive alien species from more islands, and raised awareness of biodiversity and its importance overall.

However, this encouraging progress can’t mask the fact that the natural world is suffering badly, and that the situation is getting worse. Financing is a case in point: funding for actions linked to biodiversity has been estimated at between $78 - $91 billion per year, way below the hundreds of billions needed. 

And this figure is dwarfed by the amount of money spent on activities that are harmful to biodiversity, including some $500 billion for fossil fuels, and other subsidies that cause environmental degradation.

Transitions to a healthier planet

Contained within the report are several recommendations, or “transitions”, which map out a scenario for a world in which “business as usual” is halted, and environmental devastation is reversed.

Under the proposals, ecosystems would be restored and conserved; food systems would be redesigned to enhance productivity, whilst minimizing their negative effects; and the oceans would be managed sustainably.

The design of cities also comes under the spotlight, with calls for a reduced environmental footprint in urban areas, and “green infrastructure”, making space for nature within built landscapes.

The report amplifies the UN’s support for nature-based solutions, hailed as one of the most effective ways of combatting climate change. Alongside a rapid phase-out of fossil fuel use, they can provide positive benefits for biodiversity and other sustainability goals.

And, in relation to health concerns, and the spread of diseases from animals to humans, the report calls for a “One Health” transition, in which agriculture, the urban environment and wildlife are managed in a way that promotes healthy ecosystems and healthy people.

Reacting to the report, UN chief António Guterres said that the transitions represent an unprecedented opportunity to “build back better”, as the world emerges from the immediate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic: 

“Part of this new agenda must be to tackle the twin global challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss in a more coordinated manner, understanding both that climate change threatens to undermine all other efforts to conserve biodiversity; and that nature itself offers some of the most effective solutions to avoid the worst impacts of a warming planet.”

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금요일, 9월 18, 2020

IEP Releases Inaugural Ecological Threat Register - Over one billion at threat of being displaced by 2050

On September 9, 2020, the Institute for Economics & Peace released their inaugural Ecological Threat Register. According to the report, over one billion people are at threat of being displaced by 2050 due to environmental change, conflict and civil unrest. By 2040, a total of 5.4 billion people, which is more than half of the world's projected population, will face high or extreme water stress. By 2050, 3.5 billion people could suffer from food insecurity, an increase of 1.5 billion people from today. Read on for the details. 

Children wait to buy water in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, one of the countries most at risk from ecological threats. Photograph: Anne Mimault/Reuters

LONDON, September 09, 2020

Today marks the launch of the inaugural Ecological Threat Register (ETR), that measures the ecological threats countries are currently facing and provides projections to 2050. The report uniquely combines measures of resilience with the most comprehensive ecological data available, to shed light on the countries least likely to cope with extreme ecological shocks. The report is released by leading international think-tank the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP), which produces indexes such as the Global Peace Index and Global Terrorism Index. 

Key results

  • 19 countries with the highest number of ecological threats are among the world’s 40 least peaceful countries including Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Chad, India and Pakistan.
  • Over one billion people live in 31 countries where the country’s resilience is unlikely to sufficiently withstand the impact of ecological events by 2050, contributing to mass population displacement.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa are the regions facing the largest number of ecological threats. 
  • By 2040, a total of 5.4 billion people – more than half of the world's projected population will live in the 59 countries experiencing high or extreme water stress, including India and China.
  • 3.5 billion people could suffer from food insecurity by 2050; which is an increase of 1.5 billion people from today.
  • The lack of resilience in countries covered in the ETR will lead to worsening food insecurity and competition over resources, increasing civil unrest and mass displacement, exposing developed countries to increased influxes of refugees.

The Ecological Threat Register analyses risk from population growth, water stress, food insecurity, droughts, floods, cyclones, rising temperatures and sea levels. Over the next 30 years, the report finds that 141 countries are exposed to at least one ecological threat by 2050. The 19 countries with the highest number of threats have a combined population of 2.1 billion people, which is around 25 per cent of the world’s total population. 

The ETR analyses the levels of societal resilience within countries to determine whether they have the necessary coping capacities to deal with future ecological shocks. The report finds that more than one billion people live in countries that are unlikely to have the ability to mitigate and adapt to new ecological threats, creating conditions for mass displacement by 2050.

The country with the largest number of people at risk of mass displacements is Pakistan, followed by Ethiopia and Iran. Haiti faces the highest threat in Central America. In these countries, even small ecological threats and natural disasters could result in mass population displacement, affecting regional and global security. 

Regions that have high resilience, such as Europe and North America, will not be immune from the wider impact of ecological threats, such as a significant number of refugees. The European refugee crisis in the wake of wars in Syria and Iraq in 2015 saw two million people flee to Europe and highlights the link between rapid population shifts with political turbulence and social unrest.

However, Europe, the US and other developed countries are facing fewer ecological threats and also have higher levels of resilience to deal with these risks. Developed countries which are facing no threats include Sweden, Norway, Ireland, and Iceland. In total there are 16 countries facing no threats.

Steve Killelea, Founder & Executive Chairman of the Institute for Economics and Peace, said: 

“Ecological threats and climate change pose serious challenges to global peacefulness. Over the next 30 years lack of access to food and water will only increase without urgent global cooperation. In the absence of action civil unrest, riots and conflict will most likely increase. COVID-19 is already exposing gaps in the global food chain”. 

Many of the countries most at risk from ecological threats are also predicted to experience significant population increases, such as Nigeria, Angola, Burkina Faso and Uganda. These countries already struggle to address ecological issues. They already suffer from resource scarcity, low levels of peacefulness and high poverty rates.

Steve Killelea, said:

“This will have huge social and political impacts, not just in the developing world, but also in the developed, as mass displacement will lead to larger refugee flows to the most developed countries. Ecological change is the next big global threat to our planet and people’s lives, and we must unlock the power of business and government action to build resilience for the places most at risk.“

Food Insecurity 

The global demand for food is projected to increase by 50 per cent by 2050, meaning that without a substantial increase in supply, many more people will be at risk of hunger. Currently, more than two billion people globally face uncertain access to sufficient food. This number is expected to increase to 3.5 billion people by 2050 which is likely to affect global reslience.

The five most food insecure countries are Sierra Leone, Liberia, Niger, Malawi and Lesotho, where more than half of the population experience uncertainty in access to sufficient food to be healthy. COVID-19 has exacerbated levels of food insecurity and given rise to substantial price increases, highlighting potential volatility caused by future ecological change.

In high income countries, the prevalence of undernourishment is still high at 2.7 per cent, or one in 37 people do not have sufficient food to function normally. Undernourishment in developed countries is a byproduct of poverty; Colombia, Slovakia and Mexico have the highest undernourishment rates of OECD countries

Water Stress

Over the past decade, the number of recorded water-related conflict and violent incidents increased by 270 per cent worldwide. Since 2000, most incidents have taken place in Yemen and Iraq, which highlights the interplay between extreme water stress, resilience and peacefulness, as they are among the least peaceful countries as measured by the Global Peace Index 2020. 

Today, 2.6 billion people experience high or extreme water stress – by 2040, this will increase to 5.4 billion people. The majority of these countries are located in South Asia, Middle East, North Africa (MENA), South-Western Europe, and Asia Pacific. Some of the worst affected countries by 2040 will be Lebanon, Singapore, Israel and Iraq, while China and India are also likely to be impacted. Given the past increases in water-related conflict this is likely to drive further tension and reduce global resilience. 

Natural Disasters

Changes in climate, especially the warming of global temperatures, increases the likelihood of weather-related natural disasters such as droughts, as well as increasing the intensity of storms and creating wetter monsoons. If natural disasters occur at the same rate seen in the last few decades, 1.2 billion people could be displaced globally by 2050. Asia Pacific has had the most deaths from natural disasters with over 581,000 recorded since 1990. Earthquakes have claimed the most lives in the region, with a death toll exceeding 319,000, followed by storms at 191,000.

Flooding has been the most common natural disaster since 1990, representing 42 per cent of recorded natural disasters. China’s largest event were the 2010 floods and landslides, which led to 15.2 million displaced people. Flooding is also the most common natural disaster in Europe,accounting for 35 per cent of recorded disasters in the region and is expected to rise. 

19 countries included in the ETR are at risk of rising sea levels, where at least 10 per cent of each country’s population could be affected. This will have significant consequences for low-lying coastal areas in China, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand over the next three decades – as well as cities with large populations like Alexandria in Egypt, the Hague in the Netherlands, and Osaka in Japan.

Development Aid

Aid can be used as a mechanism to build resilience to ecological shocks such as droughts, water stress and food insecurity in developing countries. Climate-related aid has increased 34 fold from one billion US dollars in 2000 to US $34 billion in 2018 and is primarily spent in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Asia-Pacific. India received the largest amount of climate-related aid in 2018, amounting to US $6.5 billion. Although these increases are substantial, they fall well short of what is needed to address these issues going forward.

For more information, visit 


Original press release:  

Ecological Threat Register:

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목요일, 8월 27, 2020

Saving the Covid Generation - Tens of Millions of Children with No Hope for Education

 A group of 275 former world leaders, economists and educationalists have called on G20 nations to step in and take action to prevent the global health crisis from creating a ‘COVID generation’ - tens of millions of children without hope of an education.

The leaders, which include many presidents and prime ministers, wrote in their letter to the G20 nations that urgent measures are required now. As country lockdowns come to an end, the 30 million children who, according to a UNESCO report, may never return to school, should be the immediate priority for assistance.

Read the article written by Ban Ki-moon, former UN Secretary-General, Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland, Graca Machel, founder of Graca Machel Trust, Helen Clark, former prime minister of New Zealand, and Gordon Brown, former prime minister of the United Kingdom. 

Saving the COVID Generation

Source: Gulf Times

On top of everything else, the Covid-19 pandemic has triggered a global education emergency. With more than 1bn children out of school because of social-distancing and lockdown measures, the crisis threatens to leave behind a “Covid generation” whose future prospects have been irreparably damaged. According to one recent study, Pakistani children who were displaced from school for just three months in 2005 by an earthquake showed signs of having lost 1.5 years of education four years later.

Worse, the crisis is deepening pre-existing inequalities. Unlike the more fortunate children who have been able to continue their educations online and in alternative venues, the world’s poorest have been locked out entirely from learning, as well as from free school meals. Without this critical source of nutrition, 300mn boys and girls are facing the threat of hunger.

Another immediate concern is the estimated 30mn children who may never return to school at all. These are among the world’s least-advantaged children, for whom education is often the only route out of poverty. For adolescent girls in this cohort, school is the best defense against forced marriage; and for many poor children, it is the last protection against exploitative and dangerous labour.

Because education is a critical factor in almost every area of human development – from child survival and maternal health to gender equity, job creation, and inclusive economic growth – today’s crisis has implications for the fate of the entire 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. According to the World Bank’s latest estimate, the educational losses now being inflicted on the Covid generation could result in lifetime foregone earnings totaling $10tn.

Those who are in a position to prevent millions of young people from losing a fair chance in life must not stand idly by. This is the time to redouble global efforts to ensure that all children receive a quality primary education.

Even before the pandemic, there were 260mn children out of school, including many of the 13mn child refugees and 40mn internally displaced children. Moreover, half of all children in developing countries suffer from “learning poverty,” demonstrating little to no basic literacy or numeracy even at age 11. Around 800mn young people have left school with no labour-market qualifications whatsoever.

To have any chance of reversing these bleak trends, the millions of children who have already lost half a year of education will need to be afforded assistance so that they can catch up. Resources are urgently needed to resume young people’s education and “build back better” with investments in online and personalised learning, more trained teachers, conditional cash transfers for poor families, safer schools, and other outlays.

To push for more funding in these areas, a coalition of global organisations recently came together to launch the Save our Future initiative. The effort is a response to the fact that while extra resources are needed now more than ever, education funding is facing a triple whammy.

First, the pandemic-induced recession will result in less revenue to fund public services, not least education. Second, as governments determine how to allocate scarce funds, they inevitably will focus spending on public health and economic recovery, once again neglecting education. And, third, the intensifying fiscal pressure on developing-country governments will perversely lead to a reduction in international development aid for education, which has already been losing out to other priorities in the allocation of bilateral and multilateral aid.

In fact, the same multilateral donors who already underinvest in education may now reallocate even more funds away from schooling. Hence, the World Bank estimates that over the next year, overall education spending in low- and middle-income countries could fall by $100-150bn below what was planned.

This funding crisis will not resolve itself. It is thus imperative that the G20, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, regional development banks, and all countries recognise the scale of the crisis and intervene to help displaced children catch up.

First, every country should pledge to protect education spending and emphasise the needs of the most disadvantaged children wherever possible, including through conditional and unconditional cash transfers to promote school attendance.

Second, the international community must increase aid for education, particularly for the most vulnerable, including the poor, girls, children in conflict zones, and the disabled. The fastest way to free up resources for education is through debt relief. With the world’s 76 poorest countries on track to incur $86bn in debt-servicing costs over the next two years, debt suspension is urgent so that this money can be reallocated to education and other high-priority investments for children.

Third, the IMF should issue $1.2tn in Special Drawing Rights (its global reserve asset), and its members should agree to channel these resources toward the countries that need them most. For its part, the World Bank should unlock more support for low-income countries through a supplementary International Development Association budget. And all advanced economies should follow the lead of Britain and the Netherlands, which together have pledged $600mn to the new International Finance Facility for Education, which will leverage such donations to extend grants and guarantees on a much larger scale.

All of these new sources of funding should be in addition to the funds for replenishing the Global Partnership for Education and Education Cannot Wait over the next two years. And, obviously all governments must continue to support Unesco, Unicef, and other United Nations agencies working to provide all children with an education.

The challenges posed by Covid-19 are momentous, to be sure. But they also represent an occasion to redouble our efforts to achieve the fourth Sustainable Development Goal: quality education for all. The children of the Covid generation deserve nothing less than the chance to reach their full potential.

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