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At the Special Session of the General Assembly on Children on Behalf of the Secretary-General

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10 May 2002

Carol Bellamy, UNICEF Executive Director

It is my honour to be here on behalf of the Secretary-General who has been such an advocate and supporter of children's central role in achieving global peace and development.

I would like to begin my remarks by first expressing appreciation to the members of the preparatory committee and to the various negotiating groups. For the very long serving and excellent members of the Bureau, Ambassador Durant, Ambassador Schumacher, our two Ambassadors Chorwdhury, Ambassador Anwarul Chowdhury, and Ambassador Iftekhar Chowdhury, Ambassador Topic, Ambassador Tall.

To the over 60 summit level participants and representatives from 170 countries, to the NGOs. To the representatives of the private sector, to the religious leaders, to the Parliamentarians, to the Paediatricians and to the children and young people themselves. To Conference Services, to my wonderful extraordinary colleagues at UNICEF and Mr. President, to you as well.

In his opening statement, the Secretary-General mentioned that this Special Session had to be truly special.

Indeed it has been.

We have had three days of extraordinary meetings.

This has been the first session of the General Assembly where children were not only seen, they were heard.

They captured our hearts, they captured our minds. They inspired us with their energy and their enthusiasm. They reminded us of our past promises and they asked for action now.

"We are not only the future, we are also the present" they said. "We are not an expenditure, we are an investment" they said.

The Secretary-General has repeatedly recognized that children are not only an investment, but that investing in children is the first essential step toward breaking the cycle of poverty.

You have just approved a strong action-oriented document so appropriately called "A World Fit for Children".

The goals for children that you have just committed to are at the very heart of the Millennium Development Goals.

On behalf of the Secretary-General, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you.

On behalf of the Secretary-General, I would like to remind you that now is time for action.

Thank you very much.