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MEDIA ADVISORY:

WHY CHILDREN MUST BE HEARD

Bellamy in Mexico To Launch UNICEF Flagship Report: ‘The State of the World’s Children 2003’

UNICEF Says Giving Young People A Constructive Role Is Essential to
Their Development -- And to A More Cohesive, Peaceful World

Links

Read a full copy of the report

Read Carol Bellamy's speech

NEW YORK, 6 December 2002 – UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy will launch UNICEF’s annual “State of the World’s Children” report in Mexico City this coming Wednesday, 11 December, asserting that children have a right to be heard in decisions that affect their lives.

Mexican President Vicente Fox and First Lady Sahagún de Fox will lead a distinguished group of participants in the launch events, which will also include Latin American children.

The key point of the report: At a time when uncertainty in the world is high and polls show that children lack confidence in governments, it is essential that adults listen to children and involve them in the decisions that will affect their lives both today and in the future. Such ‘child participation’ has important benefits – for the healthy development individual children and for their communities and countries as a whole.

The report is embargoed until 1300 GMT, Wednesday 11 December 2002.

The launch of SOWC 2003 will include the presentation of the report, an open dialogue between young people and adult leaders, and a Q&A with the international media. Here is the schedule:

Presentation of The State of the World’s Children

When: 9:30 a.m. - 10:10 a.m.
December 11, 2002

Where: Teatro de las Artes
Centro Nacional de las Artes
Rio Churubusco 79, esq. Calzada de Tlalpan
Colonia Country Club

Who: Carol Bellamy, Executive Director, UNICEF
Vicente Fox Quesada, President of Mexico
Marta Sahagún de Fox, First Lady
Angeles Mastretta, Mexican writer and poet; member of the Iberoamerican Commission of Personalities for Children and Adolescents
Young People from Mexico, Bolivia and the Dominican Republic; delegates to the United Nations Special Session on Children, May 2002.

Intergenerational Dialogue

An open discussion, moderated by children, between children and adult leaders. Among the adult participants will be high-level representatives of the three branches of government, civil society, the academic community, and the media. The dialogue will build on topics discussed at the U.N. Special Session on Children in May 2002 and may include: education; the fight against poverty; violence; and other topics.

When: 10:10 a.m. - 11:20 a.m. (immediately following presentation of the report)
Where: Same venue
Who: Representatives of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government; the Federal Electoral Institute; civil society organizations; the private sector; the media, and Carol Bellamy, UNICEF Executive Director.


Media Q&A

When: 11:30 a.m. - 12:00 noon (immediately following the dialogue)
Where: Same venue
Who: Carol Bellamy, UNICEF Executive Director
Young People

Additional Background on State of the World’s Children

Among other things, the report argues that children must be given more of a voice and more ways to participate in decisions affecting their lives because:

  • Tens of millions of young people around the world feel disconnected from political institutions and lack trust in their governments.
  • What young people learn through participation is co-operation, conflict negotiation, respect for diversity, and tolerance – key elements to building peace.
  • The downside to not allowing young people to participate is a world of young adults who fail to develop vital skills, including the ability to express themselves, negotiate differences, make responsible life choices and assume responsibility for themselves.


The State of the Year’s Children 2003 caps off a breakthrough year for child participation. During the Special Session on Children in May 2002, children addressed the UN General Assembly for the first time in history as official members of delegations representing governments and NGOs.

They spoke passionately, honestly and with much hope of something only they could understand: the experience of being children and growing up in the 21st century. They demanded more input into decision-making, and increased action on the part of leaders for education, health care and protection. Governments, in turn, promised to work for and with children to build ‘a world fit for children’.

Other events in which Carol Bellamy will participate during her visit to Mexico:

Presentation of the Mexican National Programme of Action for Children.
The National Programme of Action for Children articulates Mexico’s promise to create a world fit for children. In May 2002, all Member States of the United Nations committed themselves to a series of time-bound goals for children in the areas of health, education, protection, and AIDS. This is Mexico’s plan for achieving those goals.

When: Tuesday, December 10, 2002
11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon

Where: Los Pinos Oficial Residence, Mexico City

Who: Ms. Bellamy will be honorary guest for the presentation of the National Programme of Action for 2002-2010. President Vicente Fox will preside. Members of his Social Cabinet will be present.


Meeting with members of the Mexican Senate. Ms. Bellamy will meet with Senators to exchange ideas on reforming the juvenile justice system in Mexico.

When: Wednesday, 11 December 2002
6 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.

Where: Offices of the Senate of the Republic, Centro Histórico, Mexico City

Who: Ms. Bellamy and members of the Senate Justice Commission and the Senate Human Rights Commission.


For further information or interviews, please contact:* * * *

Salvador Herencia, Communication Chief, UNICEF Latin America
Tel.: (52-55) 52-02-32-33, ext. 407 / Cell: (52-55) 044-55 5807-6838

Catherine Langevin, Communication Chief, UNICEF Mexico City
Tel.: (52-55) 52-02-32-33, ext. 203 / Cell: (52-55) 044-55 2141-0711

Wolfgang Friedl, UNICEF Mexico City
Tel.: (52-55) 52-02-32-33, ext. 407 / Cell: (52-55) 044-55 5807-6851

Monica Sayrols, UNICEF Mexico City
Tel.: (52-55 ) 52-02-32-33, ext. 207 / Cell: (52-55) 044-55 5419-4962

Kate Donovan, UNICEF Mexico City
Cell: (001) 646-207-5182

Broadcasters: Order video b-roll: http://www.unicef.org/broadcast/brolls/sowc2003/index.html