World leaders 'Say Yes' for children
From 8 to 10 May 2002, more than 7,000 people participated
in the most important international conference on children
in more than a decade, the Special Session of the UN General
Assembly on Children, at which the nations of the world committed
themselves to a series of goals to improve the situation of
children and young people.
Building a World Fit for Children
Building a World Fit for Children reports on the landmark
United Nations Special Session on Children, held
at UN headquarters in May 2002. [download]
The United Nations Special Session on Children: A
first anniversary report on follow-up
This report presents a global picture of national follow-up
mechanisms, highlights the actions already taken and
their impact on fulfilling children’s rights
and improving their well-being, and calls for renewed
efforts to achieve a world fit for children.
document [PDF] | Annex [PDF]
available: 'A World Fit for Children' final text
Acrobat Reader required.)
Other UN languages.
See the latest Special
Session Newsletter (October 2002) [PDF] for an
overview of the Special Session on Children.
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The Special Session was a landmark, the first such Session
devoted exclusively to children and the first to include them
as official delegates. It was convened to review progress
since the World Summit for Children in 1990 and re-energize
global commitment to children's rights.
About 70 Heads of State and/or Government, prime ministers
or their deputies, together with many high-ranking government
delegations came to New York to take part in the Session.
Four governments had youth representatives address the General
Assembly on behalf of their respective countries (the Netherlands,
Norway, Sweden and Togo).
In addition, the Special Session benefited greatly from an
extraordinary array of leaders from civil society, including
non-governmental organizations, cultural, academic, business
and religious groups, and eminent personalities such as Nelson
Mandela and Bill Gates, Jr.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in his opening statement
to the General Assembly, addressed the children of the world.
"We, the grown-ups, have failed you deplorably,
he said, adding, "One in three of you has suffered from
malnutrition before you turned five years old. One in four
of you has not been immunized against any disease. Almost
one in five of you is not attending school
. We, the
grown-ups, must reverse this list of failures."
Carol Bellamy, UNICEF Executive Director, echoed her concern
for the need to accelerate progress for children. "If
we want to overcome poverty and the instability it breeds,
we must start by investing in our young people," she
said. "I implore national leaders to seriously examine
their records on children. Are you getting all your children
into the classroom? Are you protecting all your children against
disease? Are they safe from abuse, exploitation and violence?
Unfortunately, we already know the answers. We know we have
work to do."
An impressive number of government representatives - 187
- took the floor during the plenary debate at the General
Assembly. Leaders took stock of progress for children made
since the 1990 World Summit for Children. And most concurred
with the conclusions of the Secretary-General in his end-decade
report, We the Children, which stated that much work had been
accomplished but much still remained to do. Speakers said
they saw the Special Session as a sign of hope and the outcome
document as a pledge by the international community to act
together to address pressing issues and build a world fit
for children, supporting a new set of goals established by
participants at the Special Session.
What this website does
First, this website presents what happened at the Special
Session on Children, both in the official discussions - the
General Assembly debates and adoption of the final outcome
document of the Session 'A World Fit for Children' - and in
the supporting events organized by various actors, including
governments, the United Nations, UNICEF and other UN agencies,
international organizations, civil society organizations and
non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
The site also highlights the historical participation of
children and adolescents, as well as NGOs.
The site stresses the main elements of the follow-up to the
Special Session, and the importance of national and regional
plans of action in implementing the Declaration and the Plan
of Action of 'A World Fit for Children'.
The site also emphasizes the key role that the Convention
on the Rights of the Child (CRC) will continue to play, as
well as the linkages between the Convention and the outcomes
of the Special Session. It emphasizes that strengthening the
Global Movement for Children will ensure that child rights
will be at the center of all decisions affecting the lives
of children and adolescents worldwide.
Finally, this website includes background information on
the Special Session.