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UNESCO and UNGEI Reaffirm Commitment to Girls' Right to Education in Pakistan

UNESCO under the umbrella of United Nations Girls' Education Initiative (UNGEI) organized a special seminar in Islamabad on 23rd October 2012, to reaffirm the commitment to Girls' Right to Education in Pakistan. UNGEI is a
flagship for girls' education. It serves as a principal movement to narrow the gender gap in primary and secondary education and to ensure the right to education and gender equality for all children, girls and boys alike. It aims for a world where all girls and boys are empowered through quality education to realize their full potential and contribute to transforming societies where gender equality becomes a reality. UNESCO, UNICEF, ILO, UNIDO, UNHCR and other UN agencies were represented in the seminar. The UN agency representatives stressed on the need for coordinated actions and responsibility among all stakeholders to meet the targets set for girls' education by 2015, in Pakistan.

Addressing the gathering Director of UNESCO Pakistan Dr. Kozue Kay Nagata echoed the sentiment expressed by the Director-General of UNESCO, Ms. Irina Bokova in her speech delivered on the occasion of launching of the EFA Global Monitoring Report 2012 in Paris on 16th October. Quoting the Director-General Dr. Nagata said "I would like to dedicate this ceremony to Ms. Malala Yousafzai, a young brave activist for the right of girls to the education of Pakistan, assaulted last week, because she wanted to go to school."

Mr. Timo Pakkala, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Pakistan also attended the event. He emphasized that girls' education is a must in order to meet development targets in Pakistan.

The seminar was planned in lieu of UNESCO's Director-General, Ms. Irina Bokova's attribution to Ms. Malala Yousufzai during the international launch of Global Monitoring Report 2012 in Paris on 16th October, calling for global attention to the right of girls and women to education. The event was perceived to be timely as it encompassed findings of UNESCO's flagship document, "Education For All, Global Monitoring Report (GMR) 2012."

The Seminar was attended by a large number of participants represented by civil society organizations, INGOs, NGOs, teachers and students of formal and non-formal education systems.

Senator Ms. Farah Aqil from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa graced the seminar as the Chief Guest. The Senator condemned the attack against Malala Yousufzai for which she expressed a deep sense of grief. She said, "the conflict has made it arduous for girls to pursue their education." She suggested on increasing the education budget as well as strengthening security and transport for female students in conflict affected areas.
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