UNICEF Regional Director for Central and Eastern Europe and the CIS visits Kazakhstan
ASTANA, 14 April 2013 - The UNICEF Regional Director for Central and Eastern Europe and Commonwealth of Independent States, Ms. Marie-Pierre Poirier, recently visited Kazakhstan to discuss the future engagement and new types of cooperation with the country which will soon become a high-income economy.
During the visit, Ms. Poirier was accompanied by Child Protection Regional Adviser Jean-Claude Legrand, Senior Social Policy and Economic Analysis Regional Adviser Sonia Luiz Brunschwig, and Monitoring and Evaluation Regional Adviser Anne-Claire Luzot.
On 10 April, Ms. Poirier participated in the launch of the report Assessment of violence against children in schools of Kazakhstan. She said that violence was “still an everyday reality for millions of girls and boys everywhere, at homes, in schools, in care and justice systems, workplaces and communities”, however, this is “unacceptable for any human society”. She thanked the Government of Kazakhstan for openly discussing the issue of violence against children and for taking steps to address violence against children in schools, institutions, and in communities.
“This report on violence in schools is not intended to blame or punish anybody. Its objective is to understand the situation of violence in schools of Kazakhstan, in order to identify what needs to be done to prevent and better respond to violence against children,” concluded Ms. Poirier.
On the same day, she and UNICEF Country Representative Jun Kukita met Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan Aleksei Volkov to discuss the focus and modalities of UNICEF’s future assistance to children of Kazakhstan as a new model of cooperation in high-income countries. Mr. Volkov assured UNICEF that Kazakhstan was ready to discuss further in details the suggestions put forward and confirmed that the agency was a key UN partner for the country.
The delegation from the UNICEF Regional Office was also received by Kazakh Health Minister Salidat Kairbekova and Members of Parliament. “We are thankful to UNICEF for constant support in improving Mother and Child Health in Kazakhstan. This organization in cooperation with the Health Ministry of Kazakhstan carries out important work in strengthening the health system in our country,” said Mr. Kairbekova.
On 11-12 April the delegation visited East Kazakhstan Region (EKR), where the Regional Director discussed prospect for further cooperation between the EKR and UNICEF. The delegation, headed by Marie-Pierre Poirier, also visited the Mother and Child Health Centre, where UNICEF and partners implement Mother and Child Friendly Continuum of Care Model. The model is focused on perinatal care to reduce infant and maternal mortality rates. They also visited secondary school No 27 in Oskemen city, to see a program on preventing and addressing violence against children. The Nursaluat Youth Health Centre under East Kazakhstan Regional Centre for Healthy Lifestyle became the final destination for the delegation. The Youth Health Centre develops a model of youth friendly services, including expansion to rural adolescents and youth, as well as a model of suicide prevention among adolescents and youth.
Rounding up the visit which ended on 13 April to Kazakhstan, Ms. Poirier told UNICEF staff that UNICEF in Kazakhstan should continue a dialogue with state counterparts, focus on the most vulnerable and contribute to the global agenda of UNICEF through documenting and presenting best practices and lessons for the interests of children.