Mr Palm's speech during the Children's Fair on 1 June 2011
We all agree that children are the future of Albania, or indeed any country in the world. And I am always delighted to see so many young people engaged, active, learning, networking – on Facebook or in person, and preparing themselves to make their contribution to their country, to get a well-paying job, or simply to become a decent citizen.
The reasons are very clear why governments, businesses, and families should invest in the protection and development of children. We know that some parents go through great sacrifices to provide a good education to their children. There are usually four reasons why we should invest in children:
First: The Convention on the Rights of the Child, now translated into the Albania Law on the Protection of the Rights of the Child is legally binding. It commits the State to use the maximum of available resources for children.
Second: Ethically or morally, children have fundamental rights, without discrimination. Nobody disputes the call “children and women first” when there is an emergency, and that is how it should be all the time. Children should be given priority, if there is the choice.
Third: it is smart economic sense to invest in children. For instance, we know that investments in education will be rewarded with better productivity, better paid jobs and more earnings later on.
Fourth: it is politically desirable that children do well. There is no other area, where agreement is as frequently achieved across all political parties as when it concerns children. Investments in children are necessary to ensure a well-functioning democracy, where people participate to the fullest extent.
Let me now add another spin onto the discussion. We all do better in a world that is fair, and where progress is made with equity. It is unacceptable that a child, simply because it is born to parents who are poor, will have fewer life-chances than children fortunate enough to have parents who are rich. ALL children must have a good start in life. There is a lot of evidence that more equitable societies do better in terms of economic growth, reduction of poverty, control of unrest and crime, reduction of stress, and citizens’ satisfaction.
Children hold the key to poverty reduction; lets help to ensure that poverty is not transmitted from one generation to the next, and that all children have the same chance. We all can contribute to a more equitable society: policy makers, development agencies, the world of business, civil servants, teachers, and – of course – children. Include those that are less privileged, and help those that need a little more help than others.
Let’s join to ensure that the 1 June is a day of celebration for ALL children, including those that feel most challenged, and are most disadvantaged.