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


'A World Fit for Children'

An agenda both visionary and concrete

The Special Session culminated in the official adoption, by some 180 nations, of its outcome document, 'A World Fit for Children'. The new agenda for - and with - the world's children, including 21 specific goals and targets for the next decade. More than two years of consensus-building resulted in a strong future agenda focused on four key priorities: promoting healthy lives; providing quality education for all; protecting children against abuse, exploitation and violence; and combating HIV/AIDS.

The document's Declaration commits leaders to completing the unfinished agenda of the 1990 World Summit for Children, and to achieving other goals and objectives, in particular those of the UN Millennium Declaration. It reaffirms leaders' obligation to promote and protect the rights of each child, acknowledging the legal standards set by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols. All of society is called upon to join a global movement to build a world fit for children, based on a 10-point rallying call that also formed the core of the Say Yes for Children campaign.

The Plan of Action sets out three necessary outcomes: the best possible start in life for children, access to a quality basic education, including free and compulsory primary education, and ample opportunity for children and adolescents, to develop their individual capacities. There are strong calls to support families, to eliminate discrimination and to tackle poverty. A wide range of actors and partners are called upon to play active roles, including children themselves; parents, families and other caregivers; local governments; parliamentarians; NGOs; the private sector; religious, spiritual, cultural and indigenous leaders; the mass media; regional and international organizations; and people who work with children.

The Plan of Action also reaffirms previous goals and targets relevant to children endorsed by world summits and conferences, including the UN Millennium Summit. It lists 21 goals for children in the four priority areas of action, goals considered a vital step towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals adopted in 2000 by world leaders at the Millennium Summit.

"We have learned from previous meetings that setting goals is a crucial step. With goals, we have something to strive for. Without them, we have no way of measuring our successes and failures." - Patricia Durrant, Chairperson of the Preparatory Committee for the Special Session.

To achieve these goals and targets, 'A World Fit for Children' calls for the mobilization and allocation of new and additional resources at both national and international levels. It supports the pursuit of agreed-upon global targets and actions, such as the 20/20 Initiative and the allocation by industrialized countries of 0.7 per cent of their gross national product (GNP) for official development assistance, as well as the development of local partnerships.

The document concludes with a section on follow-up actions and assessment to facilitate implementation and to ensure monitoring, periodic reviews and reporting. UNICEF is requested to prepare and disseminate information on progress made.

Read the approved outcome document of the Special Session, 'A World Fit for Children':


A World Fit for Children:
Outcome document of the Special Session

This is the official, final text of the outcome document approved at the Special Session of the General Assembly on Children on 10 May 2002. (Document in pdf format, Acrobat Reader required.)







The complete report of the Ad Hoc Committee of the Whole that transmitted this text for approval by the Plenary (General Assembly official records: 27th Special Session: Supplement 3. Document A/S-27/19/Rev.1) can be found in the Archive of documents.


Special Session home: World leaders 'Say Yes' for children
'A World Fit for Children'
Special Session highlights
Supporting events
Voices of the Special Session
Child and adolescent participation
NGO participation
Follow-up: CRC - A cornerstone
Follow-up: National Plans of Action
Follow-up: Global Movement for Children
Documentation and links
Background information