Kopaonik, 9 March 2017 - Inequity is not inevitable. Inequality is a choice. Promoting equity - a fair chance for every child - is a choice. An important choice for the future of children and Serbian society.
This was one of the main conclusions made by Michel Saint-Lot, UNICEF in Serbia Representative, at today's plenary session of the Kopaonik Business Forum “Social inclusion and inclusiveness in relation to the nature and prospects of young people,” which was also attended by Aleksandar Vulin, Minister of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs.
“Serbia is undoubtedly making progress in the areas of state reform and public sector restructuring. However, the Government, and all other stakeholders need to focus on the importance of investing into human capital, particularly in children – as the most precious resource of the country. If children are healthy, well-educated and trained to enter the workforce, and are able to earn a decent wage, they are better equipped to meet their basic needs and be successful, which benefits society as a whole,” said Michel Saint-Lot.
Every child must have the opportunity to grow and develop his or her skills, and thus contribute to his or her family and community in a meaningful way. Sustainable development is possible only if it can be carried on by future generations. Therefore, investments in health and education, and in the physical, emotional and cognitive development of children is a true investment in future generations, the economy and labour force, all of which generate the development of a country.
“In order to achieve the necessary reforms, great care needs to be taken when restructuring the public sector. It would not be a good idea to reduce the scope of services that have proven to be useful, efficient and cost-effective, such as those provided by family outreach workers, visiting nurses and Roma Health Mediators. These are the services that are crucial for the development of human capital, and which are essential for the changes that we want to implement,” said Saint-Lot.
Participants agreed that investing in early childhood development through quality education and quality medical services allows every child the opportunity to realise his or her full potential.
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/serbia