Statement by UNICEF Representative Benjamin Perks

05 December 2018
A small girl leaning on the wall, slightly worried and thinking

World Children’s Day – celebrated on 20th November – is a global day of action ‘for children’.  It’s a day we celebrate childhood and reflect on the enormous responsibility we have as a society to build conditions for our children to flourish and to create the type of world we would like them to live in as adults in the future.

We also reflect that in this country there are many challenges for children, in terms of infant mortality, child poverty, air pollution and education outcomes. According to latest available data, we have the second highest rate of new-born mortality in Europe, 28 percent of all children in the country live in poverty, only 1 in 300 poor children in the country attend preschool, and 2 out of 3 attend secondary school. There is an urgent need to improve achievements of children at school as data available from international assessments such as Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) ranks our country at number 67 out of 70 countries.

However, we are also confident that new reforms that have been adopted by government, and which are being supported by the EU, World Bank, UNICEF & other UN partners as well as civil society will help improve the situation of children in the country. These include a 50% expansion in pre-school, the “Every Newborn Plan” to reduce child mortality and ensure that all babies survive and thrive, the introduction of measures to improve primary and secondary school education & reform of the social protection system to better address child poverty.

But creating a better tomorrow for all of our children, requires energy and commitment from across society. So, we call on all leaders and all citizens to do everything they can to build a society truly fit for children. Happy World Children’s Day 

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