Policy advocacy and partnerships for children's rights

Child poverty takes centre stage at New York conference

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The conference was attended by representatives from the Human Development Report Office, The World Bank, WHO, and Save the Children, among others.

By Mario Diaz

NEW YORK, 27 April 2005 – Leading academics, policy makers and global experts gathered at the New School University from 25-27 April for a conference entitled ‘Children and Poverty: Global Trends, Local Solutions’.

During the three-day event, participants discussed issues addressed in the State of the World’s Children 2005 report, with the aim of increasing knowledge, sharing ideas and improving global policies on child poverty.

Candace Miller of Harvard University, an HIV/AIDS prevention expert, said the conference focused on questions of how to find the children who are living in poverty, and what to do in order to get the necessary resources to them, so that they can grow and develop in healthy ways throughout their life.

“We must help governments respond to the orphan crisis, we must work as an international community, with private donors, donor nations, and groups like UNICEF in order to provide the services and help develop the policies that will actually change children’s lives,” said Ms. Miller.

The conference included comprehensive presentations and panel discussions on issues such as globalization, the effects of social and political change on children, education, the plight of orphaned children and the impact of HIV/AIDS on children’s welfare.

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According to Eva Jespersen, UNICEF’s chief of the team on economic and social policies, “political commitment” and “proper monitoring” are essential tools to addressing child poverty.

Millennium Development Goals

Another important topic of discussion was the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals, which call for all UN member states to take steps to eradicate extreme poverty by the year 2015. 

“I think it’s very important to realize that children are very central to meeting the Millennium Development Goals. That is something that is insufficiently realized by policy makers. So what this conference is doing is trying to raise the issues that affect children on the development agenda and to put those issues out there more clearly,” said World Bank researcher Howard White.

Effective policy implementation was the focus of the last two days of the conference. There were brief presentations by selected authors who were asked to examine the concepts and measurements of poverty, as well as the actions needed to secure a protective, harmonious and stimulating environment for empowering families.

The findings of the conference will feed into UNICEF’s ongoing field and research work on child poverty.

“The conference allows us to create a network of expertise outside the organization and to also exchange ideas among ourselves,” said Eva Jespersen, head of UNICEF’s Innocenti Research Centre.


 

 

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UNICEF New York correspondent Mario Diaz reports on the child poverty conference hosted by UNICEF and New School University

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