Government and UNICEF renew commitment to address remaining disparities and equity gaps
SKOPJE, 22 October 2013 - Today at a high-level meeting to conclude the mid-term review process of the joint Country Programme of Cooperation (2010-2015), the Government and UNICEF agreed to build on the positive gains made by the partnership, with a greater focus on interventions that target the most marginalised.
“The assessment of the successful cooperation with UNICEF demonstrates the commitment of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia to respect and promote child rights and its endeavors to fulfill its obligations in line with international conventions to protect the most vulnerable group, that is children, through actively implementing the international agenda at the national level,” said Mr Nikola Poposki, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
UNICEF has been supporting Government led reforms in health, early childhood development, education and social protection and efforts to strengthen capacities to plan, budget and monitor children’s rights. The renewed commitment came after a mid-point review of progress achieved through the partnership. “
The country can be proud of the solid progress in Government led reforms to reach the most deprived and the most vulnerable children,” said Ms. Marie-Pierre Poirier, UNICEF Regional Director for Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
The review showed that good progress was producing results that impact the lives of children. According to MICS data, improvements in access to primary education among the poor (from 86% in 2005 to 96% in 2011) and among Roma boys and girls (from 61% in 2005 to 86% in 2011), have contributed to the country achieving universal access to primary school (98% in 2011).
The meeting also provided a forum for discussion on how to further address remaining challenges and barriers that hamper the realization of children’s rights. The latest UNICEF analysis notes that economic and social reforms have had a positive impact on the lives of most boys and girls. However, remaining disparities and equity gaps highlighted the need for targeted efforts to ensure that all children’s rights are realised.
“As in other countries in the region, too many children still experience poverty, deprivation, stigma and social exclusion. They are being left behind simply because of who they are or where they live,” said Ms. Poirier. “The initial steps taken by the country indicate it is moving in the right direction towards realising the rights of all children.”
After drawing on the lessons learned, the meeting concluded that the programme should build on the positive gains made by the partnership. Focusing on reaching the most disadvantaged, cooperation will continue in sector reforms to increase access to quality preschool; improve learning outcomes in education; make the justice system child friendly; and improve the quality of protection and financial assistance support to families in need. Through cross-sectorial cooperation, UNICEF will work with Government to ensure children with disabilities enjoy their right to full participation and inclusion in society; and build national capacities for monitoring child rights.
More photos from the event are on Facebook, please click here.