UN General Assembly adopts plan of action to help children
Regional, Culture, 5/13/2002
UN report: 11 May
Concluding its three-day special session on children, the United Nations General Assembly has adopted "A World Fit for Children," setting out goals and a specific plan of action to help millions of young people across the globe to receive adequate education, health services and standards of living.
The document, which had been negotiated intensively over the course of the special session, was adopted on Friday evening without a vote, signaling that delegates had bridged their differences over sensitive language in the text. At the same time, several participants voiced their reservations and clarifications regarding specific provisions, including those related to reproductive health services.
The text confronts pressing issues of child mortality, AIDS, exploitation and poverty. Building on promises made at international conferences during the 1990s, the document's goals aim to pull hundreds of millions out of poverty within a generation, while including new targets in the areas of HIV/AIDS and child protection, reflecting the changing nature of the challenges facing the world's children.
Hailing the adoption of "A World Fit for Children," Assembly President Han Seung-soo of the Republic of Korea said the document's Declaration constituted a "practical and achievable checklist," not only for a better future, but also for immediate action that would improve young people's well-being today.
The text's Plan of Action, the President added, established new goals for children and set out specific targets in the fields of health, education, protection against abuse, exploitation and violence, as well as the struggle against HIV/AIDS. Building on the lessons learned since the 1990 World Summit for Children, it took into account the emerging challenges and opportunities in today's society, he said.
While lauding the achievements of the special session, President Han cautioned that the event should not be viewed as an end in itself, but rather as a milestone in the long journey to secure children's rights.
In concluding remarks on behalf of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Carol Bellamy, the Executive Director of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), said the child delegates participating over the past three days had captured the hearts and minds of the world leaders gathered to deliberate their futures. She hailed the adoption of the outcome document, calling it "strong and action-oriented."
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