Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Ban calls on govts to increase investment in education
By Joseph Mwenda in New York
Fri 20 Sep. 2013, 14:00 CAT

COMMENT - UN Secretary General Ban is addressing the wrong audience. The biggest defunders of education for the last 40 years around the world, have been the World Bank and the IMF. - MrK

UNITED Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday launched the International Day of Peace with a call to embracing global citizenship through tolerance and diversity among children.

Speaking moments before he rang the Peace Bell outside the UN headquarters in New York, Ban called on governments, especially in developing and conflict countries, to increase investment in education.

"Every girl and every boy deserves to receive quality education and learn the values that will help them to grow up to be global citizens in tolerant communities that respect diversity," he said ahead of the official observance of Peace Day which falls tomorrow.

"One teacher, one book, one pen, can change the world," Ban said quoting Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani schoolgirl and youth activist who was shot by the Taliban for attending classes last year.

The UN chief said 57 million children lack access to education while millions more have no decent schooling facilities.

"Educating the poorest and most marginalized children will require bold political leadership and increased financial commitment, yet aid for education has dropped for the first time in a decade. We must reverse this decline, forge new partnerships, and bring much greater attention to the quality of education," he said.

Ban cited the protracted crisis in Syria, which has resulted in more than 100,000 civilian deaths according to UN statistics, as a consequence of intolerance.

"The International Day of Peace is a time for reflection, a day when we reiterate our belief in non-violence and call for a global ceasefire," he said.

"Perhaps nowhere in the world is this more desperately needed than in Syria. The death and suffering has gone on too long. I repeat my call to all parties and their supporters to work for a peaceful resolution to the conflict through negotiation."

Later, Ban addressed a students' conference on peace where he emphasised this year's theme "Education for Peace".

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