Government and UNICEF Take Stock of Their Collaboration at the Mid-Point
2005-04-28: The third Programme of Cooperation between the Government of Mongolia – UNICEF covers the period from 2002 to 2006, which aims at the survival, protection and development of children and women.
A Mid Term Review of the Programme of Cooperation was held in Ulaanbaatar on 28 April. Mr. Ch. Ulaan, MP, Deputy Prime Minister of Mongolia, who oversees children’s and youth issues in the Government, attended the Mid Term Review meeting making a key-note speech.
The Deputy Prime Minister pointed out to the efficacy of the joint programmes and projects which focused on policy reforms, streamlining of policy implementation mechanisms, promoting partnerships and building up capacities. In this connection he noted that increased child and youth participation, the adoption of the Early Childhood Development Policy and the creation of child-friendly school are all good lessons worthy of sharing with other regional countries.
Speaking at the opening, Mr. Richard Bridle, UNICEF Deputy Regional Director for East Asia and the Pacific said that for a country like Mongolia where young people constitute more than half of the population, the rationale for investing in today’s children makes good economic sense for they will be the future citizens of tomorrow. What better argument is there then to invest in today’s children!
This calls for a major mind-shift amongst us so that investments is children is perceived as an intrinsic development right of every child and indeed for the country rather than looking at children as passive beneficiaries of services and charity, underlined Mr. Bridle.
He went on to say that investing in children’s health and nutrition, their right to quality education, right to a protective environment, their participation in the development process is sine quo non to a sustainable development for any nation and Mongolia is by no means an exception. There are many examples across the world and in the region to show that when economic and social development go hand in hand, coupled with child friendly policies and budgeting, progress in human development is sustained and contributes significantly to the ‘health’ of the nation rather then to the ‘wealth’ of a nation alone.
He emphasized in conclusion that for a country in transition from a command economy to an open market economy such as Mongolia, it is imperative that emphasis be given to policy reforms, institutional and human resource capacity development for building a child friendly physical and social environment.
The overall goal of the Programme of Cooperation is to support the Government of Mongolia’s achievement of the targets for children and women’s development as set out in the ‘National Programme of Action for the Development and Protection of Children 2002-2010’. The NPA is based on the progressive realization of the rights of children and women as presented in the Convention of the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Millennium Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals.
Prior to the signing of the current Master Plan of Operations (MPO), UNICEF Mongolia was a Sub-Office under the UNICEF Country Office, China. With the signing of the MPO by the Government of Mongolia and UNICEF on 12 April 2002, UNICEF Mongolia gained the status of a full-fledged Country Office.
The Mid-Term Review of the Country Programme is a major evaluative point at which progress and results achieved to date are carefully assessed. The review provided justification for the improvement and readjustment of the programmes to better support the achievement of the UNICEF’s Medium Term Strategic Plan (2002-2005), the World Fit for Children Goals and the Millennium Development Goals, and to ensure a more strengthened programmatic support to the UNDAF goals.
At the mid-term review meeting, the overall strategic intent of the country programme was endorsed, taking into consideration the view that development of childtren is not a matter of welfare but is central to the overall socio-economic development of Mongolia. It was also suggested at the meeting that the current projects on health and nutrition, education and child protection become programmes. It was agreed that the response to HIV/AIDS needs to be stepped up drastically.
The key recommendations and adjustments that were suggested at the mid-term review meeting will help modify and further strengthen the cooperation in the changing socio-economic context between UNICEF and the Government of Mongolia during the remainder of the country programme period up to end 2006.
The meeting was chaired by the Vice Minister of Education, Culture and Science Mr. S. Tumur-Ochir. Participants included the Chief Commissioner of the Mongolian Human Rights Commission, Vice Minister of Health, Chairperson of the National Authority for Children, Chairperson of the Presidium of the Ulaanbaatar City Council, a number of aimag Governors, senior staff of all counterpart ministries, diplomatic missions, international non-governmental organizations, UN agencies and Mongolian civil society organizations.