Accra, 27th February 2019 - Ghana can be stronger if every sector of society prioritizes children, said UNICEF today as it collaborated with the Government of Ghana to host ‘The Future of Childhood’ Conference in Accra.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child – or CRC – was adopted in November 1989. It is the world’s most widely ratified human rights treaty which sets out a basic, universal standard for a healthy, protected, decent childhood for all.
"This year, we mark an important milestone — the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Almost 30 years ago, Ghana led the world, by becoming the first country to ratify this Convention, soon after its adoption," said UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, who delivered a message at the Conference.
Since then, substantial progress was made in passing several laws and policies on the rights of children in Ghana, such as the Children's Act 1998, the Child and Welfare Policy, Justice for Children Policy and Inclusive Education Policy. The country has also been strengthening access to services, to enhance the wellbeing of children and their families.
Ghana has also developed creative and engaging social campaigns to encourage behavior change and promote an enabling environment for the development of boys and girls in Ghana – such as the social drive ‘Ghanaians Against Child Abuse’ (or GACA), which started in 2017.
Despite such concerted efforts, several challenges and threats persist to the overall development of children in Ghana. Recent data from the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS 6) 2017/2018 revealed that 19 percent of women aged between 20 and 24 years old were married before the age of 18; 94 percent of children aged 1 to 14 years have experienced some form of violent discipline; the number of child deaths remains high, with 6 percent of Ghana's children dying between their first and fifth birthday.
Today’s conference, ‘The future of Childhood in Ghana’ is the start of a series of events, workshops and discussions about children and young people, to mobilize all partners in assessing progress, identifying gaps and priority areas for accelerated efforts in the months and years to come. This is crucial for Ghana to achieve the Agenda 2030, as many Sustainable Development Goals are related to children and youth. One of the promises that Governments made is to leave no one behind.
"Ghana’s 13.6 million children are our country’s present and future. If Ghana prioritizes their rights and needs, gives them the best start in life, and opportunities to realize their dreams, they will contribute to a vibrant society. Let’s all continue doing the best we can to realize every right, for every child," said Honorable Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Mrs. Cynthia Morrison.
"We can all be champions of child rights in Ghana and play our role to provide a more equitable environment for children to develop to their full potential. Children and young people should also be given a chance to freely express their views, so they can contribute to innovative solutions to some of the challenges," added the UNICEF Representative in Ghana, Mrs. Anne-Claire Dufay.
"This generation of children will soon become Ghana’s leaders. Let’s work together to ensure that we give our future leaders the best childhood possible." - Nicolas Pron
Mr Nicolas Pron, UNICEF Special Advisor, High-Level Events, Initiatives and Partnerships joined the event in Accra. As Ghana continues to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the CRC, he concluded with a short statement: "For every child, a childhood. A good childhood means the right to play, to learn, to be free to express their views, to not be harmed, and to live a healthy life. This generation of children will soon become Ghana’s leaders. Let’s work together to ensure that we give our future leaders the best childhood possible."
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.