UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore's remarks at World Children's Day 2019

20 November 2019
UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore addresses a global summit at United Nations Headquarters in New York on 20 November 2019, joining children and young people the world over in demanding action to protect and promote child rights.
UNICEF/UN0347295/Markisz
UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore addresses a global summit at United Nations Headquarters in New York on 20 November 2019, joining children and young people the world over in demanding action to protect and promote child rights.

NEW YORK, 20 November 2019 - "Excellencies, delegates, honoured guests, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls

"Thank you all for joining us as we mark 30 years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

"We need your voices and we need your ideas as we continue putting children’s rights at the heart of national plans and policies — and living up to the Secretary-General’s call for a “decade of action” on the SDGs. 

"The achievements the world has made since the Convention was signed are undeniable.

"More children are in school than ever before.

"More are vaccinated — and getting the health care they need, closer to where they live.

"Rates of child marriage and open defecation are falling.

"And best of all — more children are living past their fifth birthdays than at any moment in history.

"But our task today is not just to celebrate the progress of the last three decades — but to accelerate progress for children’s rights in the next 30 years.

"To finish the job we started in 1989.

"Because today, as we meet, millions of children around the world — especially the poorest — are still not getting the vaccinations, nutrition, and education they need.

"Millions are living through the horrors of conflicts — seeing their homes, schools and local hospitals destroyed. Watching helplessly as their families and friends are injured or killed. Making the long, perilous journeys to safety in neighbouring countries.

"And today, children are facing new challenges to their futures — challenges that were unimaginable in 1989.

"Climate change. Rising migration. Safety in an online world. Conflicts that last longer and longer.

"Children’s rights are at a crossroads.

"We must match the historic gains of the last 30 years with a new commitment to support children in this enormously complex, ever-changing world.

"So please join UNICEF as we work with our global partners to build on the progress of the last three decades.

"To match today’s words with action.

"To deliver more primary health care in communities where people live.

"To design new programmes that help young people get the skills they need to get jobs.

"To work with businesses and innovators to develop new technologies that can deliver everything from quality education and medical test results in remote communities — to instant birth registration so children can enjoy their right to an identity.

"To invest in programmes that teach parents and families to make the right food choices that support good nutrition — while working with the food industry to ensure better local availability of fresh, unprocessed food.

"To help communities living through wars and natural disasters build new schools, hospitals and water systems that can withstand future emergencies.

"To work with all parties to conflict to encourage dialogue, respect international humanitarian law, and end the wars that are putting a generation of children in danger. 

"To — finally — get every girl into school, so she can build a life of her own choosing, free from child marriage and early pregnancy.

"And to listen to young people on issues that impact their lives, as well as their ideas and solutions for a brighter future. 

"The best pathway to a better, more sustainable future for all is to invest in all children today.

"As we look ahead to the next 30 years of progress, let’s recommit to children’s rights.

"And let’s make these rights real in programmes, policies and services in every community, in every country, around the world.

"Thank you. And happy World Children’s Day!"

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Helen Wylie

UNICEF New York

Tel: +1 917 244 2215

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On 19 November 2019 in Paris, France, the Panthéon turned blue in honor of World Children's Day
On 19 November 2019 in Paris, France, the Panthéon turned blue in honor of World Children's Day

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