The Government of Georgia and UNICEF’s new programme addresses the needs of most vulnerable and unprotected children of Georgia
Children are real indicator of country’s progress, UNICEF saysTBILISI. 11 APRIL. 2006. The 2006 – 2010 Programme of Cooperation between the Government of Georgia and UNICEF, approved and signed by the prime Minister of Georgia and UNICEF Representative a week ago, is being officially launched today. The programme targets the most vulnerable children and women in Georgia and will support the implementation of adequate social policies and structures to address their needs.
The programme has three main components: Early Childhood Care and Development, Child Protection, Advocacy and Social Monitoring for Children’s Rights.
“Within this programme, UNICEF will work with the Government and other partners to protect the rights of the most vulnerable children in the areas of health, education and social protection – says Ms Giovanna Barberis, UNICEF Representative in Georgia, - we will work to attract public attention to the rights and needs of those children who are suffering from social distress and stigma, with poor access to health or education, those living in institutions due to disability or poverty. We will work to influence policies and systems to make them more child-friendly”.
This will be done through ensuring access to adequate social services and through improving their quality. The new country programme also aims at strengthening partnerships and monitoring systems at all levels to enhance inter-sectoral collaboration and evidence based local planning.
“The parliament of Georgia welcomes the signature of the new country programme. We do think it fully complies with the state policy and priorities in spheres of children’s health and social protection and it is based on the real needs of the country – says Mr George Tsereteli, Head of the Parliamentary Committee of Health and Social Protection – The realization of the programme should drastically change the situation of children, especially the most vulnerable children in institutions. The success of the programme largely depends on our foreign partners as well as on the work of our central and local governments. The Committee will provide the necessary legislative support to the programme and will carry out parliamentary monitoring to fulfil the assumed responsibilities and the Millennium Development Goals”.
The geographic coverage of the programme will be national; however a specific focus will be given to five priority regions: Imereti, Samegrelo – Zemo Svaneti, Kvemo Kartli, Samtskhe-Javakheti, Mtskheta-Mtianeti.
In particular, the programme will continue to ensure provision of accessible and quality health care for mothers and children; parents will also have adequate education and skills to provide better care for their children.
De-institutionalization will remain the core of the new programme by providing support to the establishment of services necessary to prevent institutionalization of children and alternative care models. The improved child welfare system will become more family oriented and will help those families and children who are mostly in need.
The programme will work towards the protection of disadvantaged children such as children in conflict with law, children with disabilities, children affected by HIV/AIDS and children living in the conflict zones.
The programme will closely work with local authorities to help them develop local policies and plans for children. Civil society organizations, independent human rights institutions and media will have their role in better monitoring of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
“We have a very ambitious and interesting programme and we do hope that it will make an important contribution towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Georgia is experiencing dramatic changes and we would like to see children at the forefront of these changes, - says Giovanna Barberis, - Children are the real indicator of a country’s progress. This will be achieved tomorrow only if today we place children and young people, the future generations, as a priority on our everyday agenda”.
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