About the Special Session
The Special Session on Children, to be held 8-10 May
2002, is an unprecedented meeting of the UN General
Assembly dedicated to the children and adolescents of
the world. It will bring together government leaders
and Heads of State, NGOs, children's advocates and young
people themselves at the United Nations in New York
in 2002. The gathering will present a great opportunity
to change the way the world views and treats children.
There is again strong support on the part of Member
States and civil society to make the Special Session
a landmark event. As of 20 March 2002, 72 Heads of State
and/or Government have confirmed their participation
in the rescheduled Special Session. Many more confirmations
are expected in the coming weeks.
UN agencies are also advising of their participation.
To date, ILO, WFP, WHO and UNAIDS have confirmed their
participation at the level of head of agency.
Wide participation of civil society leaders, non-governmental
organizations (NGOs) and eminent personalities is also
expected. Several leaders from civil society and the
private sector, including Mr. Nelson Mandela and Mr.
Bill Gates Jr., have already confirmed their participation.
The participation of more than 1,400 delegates, representing
approximately 800 NGOs, is being confirmed.
A follow-up to the 1990 World Summit for Children
In 1990, at the World Summit
for Children, 71 Heads of State and Government and
other leaders signed the World
Declaration on Survival, Protection and Development
of Children and adopted a Plan
of Action to achieve a set of precise,
time-bound goals.These goals included:
- Improving living conditions for children and their
chances for survival by increasing access to health
services for women and children
- Reducing the spread of preventable diseases
- Creating more opportunities for education
- Providing better sanitation and greater food supply;
and protecting children in danger.
The commitment to realizing the World Summit goals
has helped move children and child rights to a place
high on the world's agenda. The Special Session is an
important follow-up to the 1990 World Summit.
What does the Special Session on Children hope to
- A review of the progress made for children in the
decade since the 1990 World Summit for Children and
the World Declaration and Plan of Action.
review encompasses national, regional and global
processes of analysis. The review charts the achievements
and constraints of the last decade. It also identifies
lessons learned which serve to inform world leaders
as they plan future actions for children.
- A renewed commitment and a pledge for specific actions
for the coming decade.
World leaders will explore the long-standing challenges
of serving and protecting children, as well as the
issues emerging in this rapidly changing world. They
will be asked to identify strategic solutions to the
problems facing children and to commit the critical
human and economic resources that will be called for.
Expected outcomes of the Special Session
The Special Session is expected to produce a global
agenda with a set of goals and a plan of action devoted
to ensuring three essential outcomes:
- The best possible start in life for all children.
- A good-quality basic education for all children.
- The opportunities for all children, especially adolescents,
for meaningful participation in their communities.
Partnerships for change
We cannot waste our
precious children. Not another one, not another day.
It is long past time for us to act on their behalf.
-- Nelson Mandela and Graša Machel
Mandela, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and Graša Machel,
expert on children in armed conflict, are working with
UNICEF to build broad support to change the world for
Together they are calling on leaders from government,
civil society and the private sector to form a global
movement committed to ending discrimination against
children and adolescents.
- To convince leaders to act
- To inspire and engage the public
- To hear what young people have to say.
From there, this message will be carried to the world
by the Global Movement
for Children. The Global Movement will work to provide
a united voice for all those throughout the world working
to improve the lives of children.
The aim of the partnership formed at the Special Session
is to change the world for children and ensure that
every child, without exception, is assured the right
to dignity, security and self-fulfillment.