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Past Conferences, Meetings and Events   >  Special Session of the UN General Assembly on Children

Special Session of the UN General Assembly on Children (8-10 May 2002, New York)

Audrey Hepburn, in 1989, who was then Goodwill Ambassador of UNICEF, holding the hands of children who attended a special event related to the Adoption by the UN General Assembly of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.The late Audrey Hepburn, who was then Goodwill Ambassador of UNICEF, holding the hands of children who attended a special event in 1989, related to the Adoption by the UN General Assembly of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.   UN Photo/ G. Reed
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.

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-energized 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."

Report of the Secretary-General:

We the Children

Key Documents:

Report of the Secretary-General on follow-up to the special session of the General Assembly on children

General Assembly Resolution, Follow-up to the outcome of the Special Session on Children

Follow-up to the United Nations Special Session on Children: Report of the Secretary-General