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Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s video message to the Fatima bint Mubarak Motherhood and Childhood Forum, in Abu Dhabi today:
Your Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, Her Royal Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden, Your Highnesses and Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, dear colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,
A Salam Aleykum. I send my best wishes to everyone attending the Fatima bint Mubarak Motherhood and Childhood Forum. Thanks to Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak for all her efforts to support children and women, especially in their roles as mothers in the United Arab Emirates, the region and beyond.
I am proud of the dynamic collaboration between the United Nations and the United Arab Emirates and honoured that Her Excellency Rym al Falasy is a member of the High-level Advisory Group for the Every Woman, Every Child movement.
Today, Universal Children’s Day, is an opportunity to think of all the world’s children, but particularly those in this region. From Syria to Sudan, from Libya to Iraq, from the State of Palestine to Yemen, children are under attack. Violence in some countries is reaching unprecedented levels. Societies are being torn apart. Health and education services have been devastated. In other countries, poverty, poor teaching and gender discrimination are contributing to a crisis in education. Girls are at particular risk of dropping out.
This conference is an opportunity to think about ways to tackle all these issues. It is a chance to renew our promise to children and to look at ways to improve the lives of every child and every woman. Most of all, we must give children hope of a better future, in which they can fulfil their dreams and live in peace.
I wish you all a fruitful conference and thank you for your support for the United Nations around the world. Thank you. Shukran.