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Armenia reviews progress on child rights

© UNICEF/SWZK00312/Sahakyan
Aghvan Vardanyan, Minister of Labour and Social Issues (left) listens to Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative in Armenia

Government of Armenia and UNICEF review progress on National Plan of Action for protection for child rights

YEREVAN, 29 April 2005 – The Ministry of Labor and Social Issues and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) convened today a high-level meeting to review progress one year after the adoption of the Armenian National Plan of Action for the Protection of Child Rights, and to discuss additional measures needed to ensure its successful implementation.

"The National Plan of Action for the Protection of Child Rights recognizes and supports parents and families as the primary caregivers of children and outlines needed measures to strengthen their capacity to provide the optimum care, nurturing and protection " Mr. Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative in Armenia said in his opening remarks.

The ten-year National Plan of Action for the Protection of Child Rights was adopted by the Government of Armenia in 2003 to realize pledges to fulfill children’s rights made during the 2002 UN Special Session on Children. It lays a foundation for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, and paves the way for the establishment of a "protective environment" for children in this country.

"The National Plan of Action for the Protection of Child Rights is closely linked to the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper adopted by the Government of Armenia in 2003," said Mr. Aghvan Vardanyan, Minister of Labor and Social Issues of the Republic of Armenia in his address to the conference. "Indeed, it is a mechanism that allows us to fulfill our commitments to children and to develop and implement target programs through both governmental and non-governmental structures."

Armenia has already made steady progress in improving the situation of children and women. In particular, the child mortality rate has dropped dramatically since 1990, nine out of ten children in Armenia are immunized, and primary school enrollment rates have consistently remained high. Over the last several years, new national laws have been enacted and existing laws strengthened to better protect children.

Discussions that followed presentations made by representatives of all concerned ministries revealed a number of challenges that need to be addressed for the successful implementation of the NPA. Particularly, the participants called for concrete actions on increasing budgetary allocations for social programs, establishment of high-level cross-sectoral coordination body to monitor and evaluate the implementation process, and concerted advocacy efforts in pushing the agenda for children through greater involvement of NGOs and other members of civil society.

In their remarks the participants stressed that positive developments cannot be sustained over the long term unless commitments to children are matched with political will at all levels, state budgetary resources, and workable mechanisms for enactment and monitoring of these measures are in place.

For more information

Emil Sahakyan, Communication Officer, UNICEF Armenia, tel: (374 1) 523-546



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