|© UNICEF VIDEO 2005|
|Rekha Daroga, 13-years-old, is one of the youngest officials taking part in the Global Forum. She is the Industries Minister for the UNICEF-supported Children's Parliament.|
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By Steve Nettleton
SEOUL, South Korea, 31 May 2005 - More than 5,000 participants from 130 countries gathered in Seoul, South Korea on 24-27 May, to consider better ways to implement the Millennium Development Goals at the grassroots level.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight goals that all 191 United Nations Member States have pledged to achieve by the year 2015. Included are eradicating extreme poverty, providing primary education and promoting gender equality, among others. The workshop was sponsored by UNICEF, UNDP and the World Alliance for Citizen Participation (CIVICUS).
The challenge is translating these goals from a global concept to a language understood at the grassroots level, said Robertson Work of UNDP.
“The localizing of the Millennium Development Goals is really the key,” said Mr. Work. “Goals can’t remain global or even regional or national, but they must be at the village level, the district level, in towns and cities and neighbourhoods around the planet.”
Among the participants at the workshop were five delegates from Rajasthan State, India. The four girls and one boy are ministers of an unusual form of government: a parliament of children formed to ensure that girls and boys in rural Rajasthan have access to good schools, adequate health care and clean drinking water.
|© UNICEF VIDEO 2005|
|Rekha Daroga encourages adult particpants at the two-day workshop to listen to children.|
“We’re talking about localizing the MDGs. They’ve done it,” said Sigrid Kaag, Deputy Director of UNICEF’s Programme Division on the children’s parliament. “They’re our role model and we have to take a cue from them and looking forward see what factors we can derive from it.”
Rekha Daroga, 13, the Industries Minister for the children’s parliament, believes there’s one important rule decision-makers should follow when taking action. “Adults must listen to children. They should call in 200 or 300 children and seek their views before finalizing a plan,” said Rekha.
UNDP showcased programmes in Albania and the Eastern Caribbean, where local social and cultural realities were absorbed in order to implement the MDGs.
CIVICUS Secretary General Kumi Naidoo described a Global Call to Action Against Poverty, which will mobilize trade unions, non-governmental organizations and social movements to meet the millennium goals.
The workshop ended with participants making personal commitments for grassroots development. They also drafted policy recommendations, which were presented to the closing session of the entire Global Forum, and will become public record and lead to new action in communities across the globe.