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Scottish First Minister Jack McConnell attended the C8 Children’s Forum in Dunblane, Scotland.
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By Sabine Dolan
DUNBLANE, Scotland, 5 July 2005—As G8 leaders gather in Gleneagles, Scotland, for their annual summit to discuss issues such as debt relief and increased aid to Africa, children from around the world were in the limelight during a summit of their own: the first ever C8 Children’s Forum in nearby Dunblane.
UNICEF hosts C8 Children’s Forum
UNICEF hosted the landmark event in which participating children - from eight of the world’s poorest countries and eight of the world’s richest - presented their own recommendations on ways G8 leaders can stop child poverty. Scottish First Minister Jack McConnell attended their summit. "We live in a world where some people have an incredible amount of opportunity and an incredible amount of resource and happiness, and other people have so very, very little, and that is dramatically unfair,” Mr. McConnell said. “And the leaders of the most powerful countries who've come to our country this week have a chance to do something about that, and we hope they will."
Scottish actor and UNICEF UK Goodwill Ambassador Ewan McGregor launched the C8 Children's Forum.
Issues topping C8’s agenda
Throughout the three-day conference, the young people examined the toughest challenges facing children today. On Tuesday, Mr. McConnell heard the passionate pleas of children, many of whom live in some of the world's poorest countries. They delivered clear and candid opinions on issues such as HIV/AIDS, poverty and poor access to education. Seventeen-year-old Dechen Pema, a native of Bhutan, discussed the issue of child labour, a problem that affects an estimated 250 million children between the ages of five and 14 in developing countries: "The G8 leaders must ensure the effective implementation of laws for the gradual eradication of child labour."
Goals of the C8
Scottish actor and UNICEF UK Goodwill Ambassador Ewan McGregor launched the Children's Summit. He spoke with the press, explaining the role of the C8 and the importance of hearing the voices of children from the world's poorest countries. "They're here to debate and discuss with children from the G8 countries and local children, and to come together and put together a manifesto at the end of the three days of their recommendations. And our aim at UNICEF is to try to get that manifesto to Gleneagles." As the summit drew to a close, First Minister McConnell told the children he would make sure the G8 leaders were made aware of their concerns. With one preventable child death every three seconds, time is of the essence.