Mongolian Children’s Forum opens with energy and hopeUlaanbaatar, Mongolia, 26 May 2004 – More than 100 children from all over the country gathered today at Mongolian Children’s Palace for the Children’s Forum with hopes and dreams for bright future.
The forum is a part of the National Summit on Children which is being held in Ulaanbaatar on 26-28 May. The summit will review the progress of the commitment of the Government of Mongolia’s follow-up to the UN Special Session on Children.
Mr. Sh. Batbayar, Minister of Social Welfare and Labor and Deputy Chair of the National Council for Children, opening the forum, urged the young delegates to express their opinions and ideas openly and assured that they would be considered.
In his message of greetings sent to the participants of the forum, Speaker of the Mongolian Parliament, Mr. S. Tumur-Ochir assured that the Parliament would “work towards creating enabling legal environment for encouraging children’s participation in all aspects of society“. Further, he called upon all the participants, policy makers to listen to the voices of youth and support child participation.
Mr. Kul C. Gautam, Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF addressing the forum (photo left shows Mr. Kul Gautam addressing the opening of the Children’s Forum) said, “Only you know best what it is like to live as young people in the 21st century. Children’s participation is an idea whose time has come. Today, we are witnessing that it works. Children have proven, all over the world, that when they are involved, they can make a huge difference – for themselves and for their communities…This is all the more important in a country like Mongolia, which is going through a rapid transition from an authoritarian polity and a centrally planned economy to a true democracy and open market economy. Now is the right time for Mongolia to listen to the voices of children, to their untold stories of abuse, exploitation and neglect, and to the consequences of under-investment in their health, nutrition and education.” He further said, “At UNICEF we are excited to be a part of this Children’s Forum today, and the National Summit on Children tomorrow. We look forward to your innovative ideas and recommendations to build a Mongolia fit for children. We at UNICEF and the United Nations too are keen to hear your views and your ideas”.
Two years ago, in May 2002, in New York, the children of Mongolia, represented by Ms. Davaakhuu and Mr. Gantulag joined 400 children from other countries to make history. They joined leaders, including Prime Minister Nambar Enkhbayar of Mongolia, in round table discussions at the UN General Assembly. Last year Mongolian children had a chance to speak to and influence Members of Parliament, including the Speaker.
In the afternoon session children discussed the status of implementation of the first stage of the National Programme of Action for Children. They also developed presentations on observations and recommendations for the second stage of implementation of the programme for 2005-2007. The participants in the Children’s Forum democratically elected 15 children who will represent them at the National Summit where they will make a presentation on findings, conclusion and recommendations from their forum.
For more information and interviews, please contact
Chanrav Burenbayar, Communications Officer, UNICEF Mongolia