|© UNICEF/HQ05-1948/ LeMoyne|
|A boy plants rice in the countryside near Gonaives, Haiti.|
By Kun Li
NEW YORK, USA, 7 September 2007 – On the third and final day of their current session, members of the UNICEF Executive Board today reviewed the organization’s child protection strategy for the next five years.
Chief of Child Protection Karin Landgren presented to the board an overarching global approach to protecting hundreds of millions of children who are affected by violence in various forms.
Violence is a daily reality affecting girls and boys of all ages and backgrounds. The 2006 UN Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children showed, for example, that around 1.2 million children – 80 per cent of them girls and women – fall victim to trafficking every year.
At the same time, an estimated 218 million children are involved in child labour, and as many as 140 million girls have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM) or cutting.
“Violence against children takes many forms, whether it is child trafficking, sexual abuse or FGM,” said Ms. Landgren. “One thing the UN Study on Violence against Children found out is that the problems are under-reported, and the consequences are very serious. We must do more to prevent violence happening in the first place.”
|© UNICEF/HQ04-1196/ LeMoyne|
|A girl pours murky water into a large container of earth to sift for gold in the eastern mining town of Durba in Ituri Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo.|
Building partners’ capacity
The first priority is to get a clear understanding of the extent of the problem, explained Ms. Landgren. “We need to know much more about what is happening to children in the area of protection,” she said. “Data currently available are very weak, there is very little monitoring and evaluation, and that needs to be increased.”
As part of the child protection strategy, UNICEF will review how to provide better technical guidance to governments and other partners – “so that we can bring the experiences from one government to another, and share among our partners with the practices that are best for children,” said Ms. Landgren.
Helping existing partners strengthen their child protection capacity is a crucial element of the strategy. In addition, UNICEF will focus much attention on building new partnerships with governments, non-governmental organizations and local communities.
As Ms. Landgren pointed out, protecting children is really an effort that involves all partners, including children themselves.