World Leaders: Don’t forget about kids at UNGA

SCAN web and digital manager, Sarah Poetzschke, at the 2017 Social Good Summit at the UN General Assembly. 

Starting today, the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) is officially open. This annual meeting is an opportunity for world leaders to make critical investments in the lives of children.

I’ve seen these conversations happen before. In 2017, I worked for the United Nations Foundation and helped staff various events at UNGA and the Social Good Summit – a large event during the week that is centered on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These goals represent 17 global priorities that seek to eliminate extreme poverty and hunger by 2030.

When I attended, the theme was “Future in Focus,” and many politicians, actors, artists and entrepreneurs gathered to share ideas about how to create a more just, equal future for all. A reoccurring theme was the potential of the world’s youth. It makes sense; you can’t focus on the future without recognizing the power of the children who will grow to lead it.

Two years on, and this theme has only become more important. Many kids today are finding themselves in dangerous situations beyond their control. Their issues and concerns demand our full attention.

That’s why Save the Children is co-sponsoring a high-level event this week entitled, “How are We Going to Stop the War on Children?” Together with governments of Belgium, Cote d’Ivoire, France, Germany, Indonesia, South Africa and the European Union, Save the Children will highlight the startling reality that 1 in 5 children around the world today are living in war zones.

The event will be a space for the participating governments to outline solutions for protecting children in conflict, including holding perpetrators of violations to account and providing practical actions to rebuild children’s lives.

One of the things our leaders can do to help these children is to increase fiscal support to the global fund Education Cannot Wait, which launched at the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016. The fund seeks to provide education to the 75 million children worldwide who are impacted by conflict. In first two years alone, it has reached 1.3 million children and provided them with a safe and quality education. And returning to school is crucial, as it can help create a sense of normalcy. It can also address the mental health and psychosocial support that children who have faced trauma often need. Talk about creating positive change!

I am not attending UNGA this year, but I am still raising my voice. I am urging my leaders to support Education Cannot Wait and other programs that benefit children. Because if we are to truly transform the world, the answer remains the same: start by investing in kids.

Will you join me?

Urge our leaders to support funding for Education Cannot Wait.