The permanent representative of Bangladesh and executive board president of UNICEF Ambassador Rabab Fatima said, "The impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on essential services and regular programmes for children is a matter of serious concern."
"We cannot allow the pandemic to become a children's crisis," she said while addressing the opening segment of the second regular session of the UNICEF Board in New York on Wednesday, according to a press release.
Highlighting the dire consequences facing children across the globe due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Ambassador Fatima thanked UNICEF staff members across the globe for their dedicated and tireless efforts in responding to this extraordinary situation.
She also stressed the importance of creative thinking and innovative solutions to adapt their programmes and close collaboration with other agencies for tackling this unprecedented crisis, the press release reads.
Ambassador Fatima called upon the UNICEF to make access to online and distance learning a top priority in line with the thematic focus on education of the country programme documents, and urged partners to contribute to this noble cause with their expertise and funding.
Rabab Fatima also called for more investment in girls' education for ensuring "their advancement; their dignity; and protecting them from exploitation".
She highlighted the importance of unlocking the full potential of women and girls by removing different barriers including gender-based violence and discrimination, lack of awareness and facilities of menstrual health and hygiene etc, the press release said.
She also emphasised the importance of preventing drowning, identifying it as a leading cause of global mortality among 1-14 year old children, with more than 320,000 deaths every year.
Ambassador Fatima called upon UNICEF to strengthen its advocacy work on drowning prevention at the country level, together with WHO and other agencies, as well as NGOs.
The Opening Session was addressed, among others, by Ms Henrietta H Fore, UNICEF Executive Director who gave a comprehensive overview of the works of, as well as the challenges faced by, the UNICEF, the press release said.
This was followed by country statements from permanent representatives and delegates from member states across the world, the press release further said.