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Photo: Kurdish girl. Iraq, 1997. Copyright Sebastiao Salgado/Amazonas
Photo: Kurdish girl. Iraq, 1997. Copyright Sebastiao Salgado/Amazonas

This page is background information, last updated in May 2002 and still available for reference. For the latest on the Special Session on Children, please go to the Special Session index.

Preparatory process

In this page you will find information on:
  1. Progress on government negotiations
  2. Preparatory Committee
  3. Regional processes
1. Progress on government negotiations

The draft outcome document entitled, A world fit for children, contains a Declaration and a Plan of Action to guide actions for children during the next decade. The Plan of Action addresses four major areas of concern (health, education, child protection and HIV/AIDS) and contains provisions for fostering partnerships, mobilizing resources and monitoring implementation. A final round of informal negotiations to complete the document will be convened from 29 April to 2 May 2002.

2. Preparatory Committee

At the global level, the General Assembly established the Preparatory Committee for the Special Session on Children open to all Member States and observers. The Preparatory Committee is guided by a five-member Bureau, with UNICEF serving as substantive secretariat.

Third Preparatory Committee, 11-15 June 2001

More than 3,000 representatives of Governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including some 200 young people attended the third preparatory committee meeting for the UN Special Session on Children, which will take place in New York.

The meeting focused on the outcome document that will be adopted at the Special Session in May 2002. Government representatives, including some 50 high-level officials, spent the five days of the meeting working to produce a document that meets the goals of the Special Session: to get world leaders to recommit themselves to an agenda for children in the coming decade.

The plenary discussion also featured panels on children and conflict and commercial sexual exploitation. In addition to the plenary sessions, a full schedule of side events sponsored by individual governments and organizations took place.

Official report of the Third Session of the Preparatory Committee [pdf format]
Summary of the outcome [word] of the Third Session of the Preparatory Committee

All of UNICEF's Prepcom coverage

UNICEF provided daily coverage of events and people at the Third Preparatory Committee meeting.

  • Profiles of young people at the Prepcom
  • Stories from Prepcom events
  • Photo galleries
  • Video views (young participant interviews)
  • Links to Child Rights Information Network daily updates and to the daily newsletter 'On the Record for Children'


Second Preparatory Committee (January 2001)

The second session of the Preparatory Committee, held in January-February 2001, was similarly well attended by Member States, NGOs and young people. It reviewed initial findings of the end-decade review and provided comments on the draft provisional outcome document, following which a revised draft outcome document "A World Fit for Children" (A/AC.256/CRP.6/Rev.1) was prepared and distributed by the Bureau for consideration at the third session.


First Preparatory Committee (May 2001)

More than 1,000 participants attended the Preparatory Committee's first session, in May-June 2000, including representatives of almost all Member States and all major United Nations bodies, as well as more than 235 grass-roots, national and international NGOs. Delegations considered the report of the Secretary-General on emerging issues for children in the twenty-first century (A/AC.256/3-E/ICEF/2000/13 (Word or PDF format) ) and reached agreement on three outcomes to be pursued through future action for children to ensure a good start in life, a good quality basic education and adolescent development and participation. Following the first session, a draft provisional outcome document, "A World Fit for Children" (A/AC.256/CRP.6), was prepared and issued by the Bureau.


3. Regional processes

Regional and subregional institutions have been encouraged to organize appropriate processes to build partnerships for and with children and contribute to preparations for the special session. The wide variety of regional processes set in motion attests to the enthusiastic response.

The following document presents the Outcomes of the five main regional processes that have taken place in preparation for the Special Session on Children. More information is available below on these and other regional processes.

Outcome of the five main regional processes (A/S-27/13) [pdf]

In Africa, the OAU Lomé Summit declaration entitled "Africa's children, Africa's future", issued in July 2000, encouraged Member States to articulate a visionary but feasible agenda for African children over the next decade, recognizing HIV/AIDS as a priority challenge and addressing other pressing issues. Follow-up meetings in 2001 involved a broad range of partners, including the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the Arab League and ECOWAS.

A special Pan-African Forum was held in Cairo in May to discuss the future of the African child and to build momentum for a dynamic movement for children across the continent. This alliance of Governments, civil society, young people, and a whole range of other constituencies and institutions would be dedicated to advocacy and action on behalf of children, as part of the Global Movement for Children.

African common position at the Forum [word]

The League of Arab States invited members in June 2000 to undertake national reviews of the situation of children and to participate in preparations for the special session. A draft declaration and framework for action on the rights of children has been prepared for the period 2001-2010, and a regional high-level conference on children was held in Cairo between 1 and 4 July 2001.

Arab High level Conference 2-4 July 01[word]

In East Asia and the Pacific, four ministerial consultations on children and development have been held since 1990, with the fifth to be held in Beijing in May 2001, to play a critical role in shaping the region's future agenda for children. An assessment of the state of implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) forms the basis for joint planning of regional actions by the ASEAN secretariat and UNICEF. See the Beijing Declaration.

South Asian Governments are to participate in a high-level meeting in Nepal in May 2001 on the theme "A South Asian imperative: investing in children", while a July 2001 symposium in Islamabad is to examine achievements and promote sustained action on the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Decade Plan of Action for the Girl Child. See the Kathmandu Understanding.

In Europe and Central Asia, a conference in May 2001 is to adopt the Berlin Commitment (PDF) for Children of Europe and Central Asia, focusing on such key issues as problems of transition, discrimination and ecological sustainability, with participation by young people and NGOs.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, five ministerial meetings since the World Summit for Children have been held to assess achievements and constraints. The Lima Accord, adopted in 1998, helped accelerate progress, while the Kingston Consensus, adopted at the fifth meeting, in 2000, represents the regional contribution of the Americas at the special session. Significant commitments were also made at the Tenth Ibero-American Summit of Presidents and Heads of State on Children and Adolescents, held in 2000.

In addition to information on the Preparatory activities and the participation of young people and NGOs, the Special Session Newsletter contains further information on additional regional activities.

Special Session home

Background information:

Agenda & activities
Preparatory process
Information for NGOs
Child rights in action
How is your country doing?
What you can do
Press centre
Under-18 zone
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Official coverage (United Nations)



Read our newsletter [pdf] for the latest information on events, activities and the participation of young people and NGOs.