Magazine article UN Chronicle

World Summit for Children

Magazine article UN Chronicle

World Summit for Children

Article excerpt

World Summit for Children

The World Summit for Children, held on 29 and 30 September in New York, provided a historic forum for discarding myths about development and proposing new ideas for redressing the story plight of children worldwide.

Seventy-one Heads of State and Government--the largest such gathering ever--assembled at UN Headquarters to throw their countrie's weight and commitment behind this remarkable effort to save the lives of at least third of the 14 million children under the age of five who die each year.

The Summit, proposed last year by six leaders--Prime Minister Brian Mulroney of Canada, President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, President Moussa Traore of Mali, President Carlos Salinas de Gortari of Mexico, then prime Minister Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan and Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson of Sweden--desired "to bring attention and promote commitment, at the highest political level, to goals and strategies for ensuring the survival, protection and development of children as key elements in the socio-economic development of all countries and human society".

After two days of tightly-scheduled formal and informal meetings, the world leaders appended their signatures and moral commitment to a formal document that sets the guidelines for bold new initiatives on children. The World Declaration on the survival, Protection and Development of Children and the Plan of Action for implementing the World Declaration in the 1990s sets a new global agenda for the well-being of children.

'A moral commitment'

The Declaration is a moral and joint commitment, an acknowledgement of the changing international political climate and an exposition of the challenges, tasks and opportunities that lie ahead. The Plan of Action is a practical guide for national governments, international and non-governmental organizations, bilateral aid agencies and other sectors of society to ensure the implementation of the Declaration's specific principles.

The Action Plan sets specific goals for children and development in the next decade:

* Between 1990 and the year 2000, reduction of under-five child morality rate by one third or 70 per 1,000 live-births, whichever is less;

* Reduction of maternal mortality rate by half;

* Reduction of severe and moderate malnutrition among under-five children by half;

* Universal access to safe drinking-water and to sanitary means of excreta disposal;

* By the year 2000, universal access to basic education and completion of primary education by at least 80 per cent of primary school-age children;

* Reduction of the adult illiteracy rate emphasis on female literacy;

* Improved protection of children in especially difficult circumstances. …

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