UNICEF Pacific Launches the State of the Pacific Children Report 2008
Suva, 11 November, 2008 – Pacific children must learn to cope with a changing society, and be prepared for a lifestyle that is very different from that most of their grandparents and parents knew when they were young – according to the State of the Pacific Children Report 2008 launched in the Solomon Islands yesterday.
The report which analyses the current situation for a million children living in 14 Pacific Island countries was launched by the UNICEF Regional Director for East Asia and Pacific Region Ms Anupama Rao Singh.
Ms Singh said Pacific Islanders are highly vulnerable to natural disasters and impacts of global warming and several Pacific Islands have experienced periods of political and civil unrest leading to negative economic growth which all has an impact on children’s development.
“An example is the slow progress in improving child health, especially for young children, with increasing poverty and the switch to modern diets meaning that young children are at risk of not receiving sufficient protein, vitamins and minerals,” she added.
The report encourages governments to take the lead in providing information and education to breakdown cultural and social barriers for youth participation in development.
It says that youth participation needs to be considered at the family, community and the national levels, and should be perceived as constructive rather than a disruption of social norms.
Ms Singh said it was important to take into account the economic, social and political contexts which are vital when designing policies and strategies to improve children’s lives in the Pacific.
“Early childhood education can provide a key entry point for promoting a more interactive learning environment, developing in children the initiative, confidence and creativity to handle the evolving Pacific socio-economic context, and actively engaging communities in ensuring children enjoy their rights,” she said.
The report analyses the progress in the situation of Pacific children since the 2002 Special Session on Children, with reference to trends in the institutional, policy and legal frameworks, the on-going effectiveness of National Advisory Committees on Children (NACCs) and the success of national and regional initiatives in Early Childhood, Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and Child Sexual Abuse, Birth Registration and Violence Against Children