United Together: A Conversation with UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed
“If we are indeed to recover better - to make this a decade of action, we need to rethink the way we think, the way we work, the way we engage other and the way we solve problems together.” - United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Amina J. Mohammed
On June 26, 2020, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) and Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Group Amina J. Mohammed; world-renowned opera singer Simon Estes; and CEO of the UN Foundation Ambassador Elizabeth Cousens came together virtually to celebrate the 75th United Nations Charter Day and discuss the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The UN has made tremendous progress and continue to be an image of leadership and advocacy towards bettering our world.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals provide a roadmap that aims to create a sustainable future for all by 2030. They address global issues including poverty, inequity, climate change, environmental degradation, peace, and justice.
In particular, as advocates at GCE-US, we strive daily to meet sustainable development goals numbers four and five: quality education and gender equity. Both of these issues are interconnected. The UN sustainable development goals website speaks briefly about how COVID-19 has negatively impacted education:
“In 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe, a majority of countries announced the temporary closure of schools, impacting more than 91 percent of students worldwide. By April 2020 close to 1.6 billion children and youth were out of school and nearly 360 million children who rely on school meals needed to look to other resources for daily nutrition.”
As Deputy Secretary-General, Amina J. Mohammed emphasized, COVID-19 has highlighted issues that already existed. In the education sector, we are seeing millions of children out of school. Many girls and women are unable to return to continue their learning. We also continue to see the lack of access to essential resources such as books, teachers, funds, and water, sanitation and hygiene in schools. Education is truly a life-saving tool, and must be provided during global pandemics and all humanitarian settings.
Moving forward, we must ensure that there is #NoChildLeftBehind and continue to have these challenging yet important discussions about how to ensure learning does not stop in the midst of this pandemic. We must be open to new ideas and information, advocate for the human right to education, speak out to fully fund public education systems, support teachers and students, remain hopeful, and continue to shape the future as we navigate through this uncertain time. In the words of Deputy-Secretary General, Amina J. Mohammed, “keep yourself informed. Knowledge is power.”
Click here to watch the event.