$2.4bn investments needed to end genital mutilation, says UNICEF

The United Nations Children’s Fund has disclosed that the agency will be needing no less than $2.4bn to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals target in eliminating Female Genital Mutilation globally.

The UN agency made the announcement in a statement on Friday ahead of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM, observed annually on February 6.

UNICEF also raised concerns that the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic could reverse decades of global progress in ending the practice.

According to the agency, as the pandemic continues to shutter schools and disrupt programmes that help protect girls from this harmful practice, an additional two million additional cases of the FGM may occur over the next decade.

The statement read, “Countries already grappling with rising poverty, inequality and conflict are seeing the COVID-19 pandemic further threaten years of progress to end the practice, creating a crisis within a crisis for the world’s most vulnerable and marginalized girls.

“Even before COVID-19, 68 million girls were estimated to be at risk of Female Genital Mutilation between 2015 and 2030. As the pandemic continues to shutter schools and disrupt programmes that help protect girls from this harmful practice, an additional two million additional cases of female genital mutilation may occur over the next decade.

“Rapid population growth in some countries is expected to further increase the number of girls at risk, adding urgency to the global effort to eliminate the practice by 2030 as set out in the Sustainable Development Goals.

“Female genital mutilation harms girls’ bodies, lives and future. It is also a violation of their human rights. Only united, concerted and well-funded action can end the practice everywhere.

“As the global community adopts programmes to reach girls and women impacted by the pandemic, there is an urgent need to accelerate investment to end female genital mutilation. Some $2.4 billion is needed to eliminate this practice in 31 high-priority countries.”

Source:www.punchng.com