NEW YORK - Unless governments in the Middle East and North Africa prioritize peace and stability, the region will fail to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has said, launching a report focusing on the goals related to children and young people.

The UN agency stated that, without improved education and meaningful work opportunities, the region - which has the highest youth unemployment rate in the world - faces the “critical risk” of a record increase of five million out-of-school children, and a rise in youth unemployment of more than 10 per cent.

Many young people feel that things are getting worse, says the report, with a deterioration in their quality of life over the last decade, and only half of them have confidence in their own governments.

UNICEF is calling for an urgent boost in expenditure for early childhood care, quality education, gender equality and youth employment, in a bid to reach the Sustainable Development Goals.

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