UNICEF Executive Board President and Bangladesh Permanent Representative to the United Nations Rabab Fatima has called for universal access to online and distance learning for children across the world during the crisis caused by Covid-19.
Access to online and distance learning universally should be a top priority now,” she said adding “Distance learning for a large majority of children in the developing countries remains a challenge due to lack of access to digital platforms and internet connectivity and only about 30 per cent have access.”The UNICEF Executive Board President and Bangladesh Permanent Representative to the United Nations made the call while addressing the inauguration of the first ever virtual Annual Session of the UNICEF Executive Board today in New York.
In her speech, ambassador Fatima also commended the UNICEF for their dedicated efforts globally in handling the pandemic and standing by the children of the world.
As the President of the Executive Board of the UN agency, Fatima urged the agency to ensure its pandemic response and recovery programmes complement and support the governments in the programme countries without compromising its regular mandated programmes.
She also highlighted on the grim realities facing many countries, especially the lower income countries, the LDCs, and in Africa in the face of the pandemic.
Terming the pandemic as a ‘litmus test’ for the UN system, Fatima stressed the importance of UNICEF’s response and recovery work to be in sync with the other UN agencies.
Among others, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H Fore also addressed the opening session. This was followed by country statements from Permanent Representatives and delegates from member states across the world.