UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children 2011 report calls for more investment in adolescents to break the cycles of poverty and inequity
Ha Noi, 28 February 2011 – Thanks to committed investments in early and middle childhood (children up to nine-years-old) in Viet Nam, the lives of many young children have been saved, and in many cases significantly improved. For example, since 1990, there has been a 50 per cent drop in mortality for children under five years of age and millions of children now benefit from improved access to primary education, safe water and critical medicines. Viet Nam cannot risk losing these children as they become adolescents and young people, and must complement improvements for young children with stronger investment and action to support the health, education, protection, employment and participation of adolescents and young people.
Investing in adolescents and young people can accelerate the fight against poverty, HIV and AIDS, socio-economic disparities and gender discrimination. Denying adolescents and young people their right to quality education, health care, protection, participation and decent jobs perpetuates the vicious cycle of poverty and exclusion that robs them of the chance to fully develop their capacity to be healthy and productive members of society.
These were some of the themes discussed and recommendations presented today in Ha Noi as the United Nations (UN) launched the latest issue of UNICEF’s flagship publication, the State of the World’s Children 2011, which documents progress in improving children’s rights throughout the world. This year, the theme of the report is “Adolescence – An Age of Opportunity”, which emphasizes the imperative of investing in adolescence.
“Viet Nam is home to 26.7 million adolescents and young people aged 10 to 24-years-old. They account for almost one-third of the population and face a unique set of challenges in today’s Viet Nam, including economic insecurity, HIV and AIDS, climate change and environmental degradation, migration and rapid urbanization. With these challenges expected to intensify over the next decade, adolescents and young people will need to be equipped with the skills and knowledge to contend with their impact,” said UNICEF Viet Nam Representative Ms. Lotta Sylwander.
During the event, some of the key challenges for adolescents in Viet Nam were highlighted as follows:
In conclusion, the UN Viet Nam panel shared their recommendations for partners to come together and invest in adolescents and young people, including improved data collection and analysis, supporting youth-friendly policy development, creating a supportive environment for adolescent rights, enhancing access to social services, fostering fora and spaces for youth participation and tackling poverty and inequity. In addition, the panel highlighted the need for the government to invest in education and training for young people, create decent work opportunities, increase coordination across sectors, and improve the implementation of policies and law.
“Stakeholders at all levels in Viet Nam must work together to ensure that adolescence truly becomes an age of opportunity,” said Ms. Lotta Sylwander. “The United Nations in Viet Nam stands ready to support the Government of Viet Nam with a concerted response under the One UN Initiative.”
Today’s event was chaired by Ms. Lotta Sylwander, UNICEF Viet Nam Representative, with additional comments provided by Mr. Eamonn Murphy, UNAIDS Viet Nam Country Director; Mr. Bruce Campbell, UNFPA Viet Nam Representative; Mr. Florian Forster, IOM Viet Nam Representative; Mr. John Stewart, ILO Viet Nam Labour Market Information Specialist; and Ms. Vu Nguyen Ha Anh, UNICEF Viet Nam’s Goodwill Ambassador.
Click below to download factsheets on key themes for adolescents in Viet Nam:
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The State of the World’s Children 2011: Adolescence – An Age of Opportunity
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