On World Children’s Day UNICEF Georgia summarizes the results for children over three decades
Tbilisi, Georgia. 20 November 2023. On World Children’s Day, UNICEF marked its thirtieth anniversary in Georgia and emphasized the importance of accelerating the implementation of the Code of the Rights of the Child of Georgia and the need for building a truly inclusive society where everyone’s rights are protected.
During the event attended by Government partners, Parliamentarians, civil society and international organizations, children and young people, UNICEF summarized the results achieved for children so far and drew attention to the challenges still faced by many children and families in Georgia.
“I am very excited that today we celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of UNICEF Georgia and I am grateful to our Government partners, development agencies, private sector and civil society organizations for their productive collaboration over three decades “, said Jesper Moller, Representative of UNICEF in Georgia. “Looking ahead, it is crucial that we continue to emphasize the importance of inclusive societies where everybody has a right to meet their full potential, including children with disabilities, children from ethnic minorities, children living in hard-to-reach areas, those living in poverty. This is especially vital now when we are entering a period of accelerating our joint efforts to meet the Sustainable Development Goals and explore the potential of EU candidacy following the EU Commission recommendations.”
UNICEF, in close collaboration with partners, contributed to substantial changes in children’s lives over three decades. Below are some of those changes:
- Children of Georgia have benefited from the greatest advancement in global health –vaccines. The uninterrupted vaccination chain, and updates to immunization schedules following the availability of new vaccines, has allowed children in Georgia to grow up healthy and avoid preventable diseases.
- The Early Learning and Development Concept brought together health, education, and child protection systems. Children with developmental delays and other problems can be detected at the Primary Health Care level and are referred for specialist services in a timely manner.
- Young children have better access to preschool education thanks to the development of the national legislative framework, providing technical support, advocacy and evidence generation. As a result, enrollment in pre-school institutions increased from 46 per cent in 2011 to 72 per cent in 2022.
- Children enjoy better quality and more inclusive general education thanks to an improved curriculum, improved teacher competencies, the introduction of digital resources and the sharing of international best practices.
- Child poverty decreased from 37.7 per cent in 2004 to 20.4 per cent in 2022. UNICEF supported the revision of the Targeted Social Assistance programme and the introduction of the Child Cash Benefit, which is gradually increasing. However, children are still the poorest social group in Georgia.
- Children from large-scale institutions moved to a family-based care thanks to UNICEF supported Child Care Reform. Efforts are needed to strengthen the prevention of family separation, to introduce a wide range of child and family support services, and to further enhance alternative care.
- UNICEF has supported the introduction and evolution of the social work profession across various systems – such as child welfare and protection, justice, and education systems – as well as the enhancement of multisectoral cooperation between different sectors. Further strengthening of the social service workforce is the priority for UNICEF, which includes the development of social work at the municipal level.
- Less children are subject to violence. UNICEF has continually supported the strengthening of legislation, prevention, identification and response mechanisms of violence against children.
For UNICEF, World Children’s Day is the Global Day of Action for children by children. It is celebrated every year on 20 November to coincide with the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The day aims to raise awareness and funds for the millions of children that are denied their rights, and to elevate young people’s voices as a critical part of any discussions about their future.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/georgia/