World leaders gathered at the UN need to pick up the pace for the most vulnerable children

Tuesday, September 24 – After a busy start to the United Nations General Assembly's High-Level Week in New York, with world leaders rightly focusing on how the climate crisis is affecting children, World Vision’s message is clear – it’s time to pick up the pace on progress.

“I’m here to call on world leaders to pick up the pace if we are to end global poverty and violence against children, and to combat environmental devastation disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable children,” says World Vision International President and CEO, Andrew Morley, from New York.

“Climate-driven disasters are becoming alarmingly common and more deadly. The most vulnerable children in the world are being forced to flee their homes, putting them at risk of exploitation, violence and even death. They cannot wait.”

Greta Thunberg’s compelling plea to prioritise the climate crisis is a powerful reminder of the need to include children in the global processes that affect their lives, said Morley.

“When children speak, we must listen. As we have heard over the weekend and again yesterday, they cannot wait any longer. They are the reason we have to pick up the pace and see an end to poverty and violence.”

Elsewhere at the UN, literacy, malnutrition and universal health coverage were a cause for celebration and concentration.

As leaders committed to actions to achieve universal health coverage, World Vision’s Senior Director for Sustainable Health Dan Irvine reflected on the remarkable progress to get to this point.

“Five years ago, a global commitment to universal health coverage was a dream. Today, this dream is a reality as the world has ratified a Universal Health Coverage declaration. It shows us that progress is possible. It prioritises what we have always believed - universal health coverage is a human right, a child’s right, and will save millions of lives. Our focus must now shift to picking up the pace in making this a reality.”

“The pace of change in education also clearly needs to pick up”, said Dana Buzducea, World Vision Partnership Leader for Advocacy. “According to the World Bank, if we don’t pick up the pace, in 10 years global illiteracy rates will only have dropped from 51% to 41%; we want to reach zero so it shows how far off track we are.”