UNITED NATIONS : As many as 20 million girls may not return to schools even after the Covid-19 crisis is over, warns UN Messenger of Peace Malala Yousafzai.

Speaking at a side event of the UN General Assembly on Friday afternoon, the youngest Nobel Laureate acknowledged that Covid-19 has been ''a striking setback to our collective goals,'' such as educating women.

''On education alone, 20 million more girls may never go back to the classroom when the crisis ends [and] the global education funding gap has already increased to 200 billion dollars per year,'' she said.

Malala reminded the international community that sustainable goals, set by the UN five years ago, represented the future for millions of girls who wanted education and were fighting for equality.

Noting that little had been done in the last five years to achieve these goals, she asked the world body, ''when are you planning to do the work''?

''When will you commit the necessary funding to give every child 12 years of quality education? When will you prioritize peace and protect refugees? When will you pass policies to cut carbon emissions?''

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who also addressed the virtual event, underlined the need to ''strike out for a world of dignity and opportunity for all on a healthy planet''.

''We must look beyond the current crisis and set our sights high..... to show that transformation is possible and is happening right now,'' he said.

The UN chief urged rich nations to address the immediate, medium and longer-term needs of developing countries and to support a UN debt service suspension initiative to at least the end of 2021.

He also stressed the need for for transition to a more equitable and sustainable economy, ending fossil fuel subsidies and placing women at the center of building back.

The World Students Society thanks author Anwar Iqbal.


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