NEW YORK, 10 MAY 2002


Mr./Mrs. Chairperson,
Your Excellencies,
Distinguished delegates,
Young people,

It is a great honour for me to address the Special Session on Children on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Bulgaria. My country is an active partner to the international community in its efforts to create a better future for children all over the world. Therefore, Bulgaria aligned itself with the EU statement delivered at the beginning of this session. I am very happy and proud to be here with you and to confirm the support of my country to the United Nations activities devoted to children.

In 1990 Bulgaria participated in the World Summit on Children and aligned itself with the final documents - the Declaration and the Plan of Action. The Bulgarian Government shared the belief that a special policy on children was necessary to face the commitments made by the Summit.

Hence, my country was among the first Member states of the United Nations to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Afterwards, Bulgaria became a Party to the two Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. After submitting its Initial Report and in conformity with the recommendations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child the Bulgarian Government has undertaken some legislative initiatives to comply appropriately with its obligations.

In 2000 the National Assembly adopted the Child Protection Law establishing measures for the full implementation of the rights of the child. An independent State Child Protection Agency and Municipal services for social assistance were established and entrusted with the realization of the National Strategy arid the National Action Plan on Child Protection. The main priority of the State Child Protection Agency is to coordinate the governmental policy in the field of child protection and to exercise comprehensive control on the implementation of the rights of the child.

A month ago, the Government adopted a National Programme entitled "The Children of Bulgaria". It defines the commitments of the State institutions for child's protection and health.

Mr./Mrs. Chairperson,

We are aware that family and especially children are those that have to pay the social price of the transition to market economy. Therefore, we are convinced that well elaborated and active social policy is necessary to overcome the challenges. I would like to confirm the strong commitment of my Government to solve the existing problems related to children in Bulgaria, despite all the challenges we are facing during the period of transition. I would like to specify some of the priorities we have set up.

One of my Government's main concerns is to make reality the right of every child to live in a family. This priority is laid down in the political programme of the Government People Are The Wealth of Bulgaria. We hope to achieve our goal through different projects aimed at reducing the number of children placed in institutions by supporting their families and relatives, by developing social services and training social agents. Some of these projects are financed by donors and implemented with the participation of foreign partners.

Fight against poverty is still a serious concern of my Government. We devote a great deal of efforts to the financial assistance for the families with low incomes. Recently, a Law of Family Assistance for Children has been adopted in Bulgaria.

Isolation of disabled children is another serious problem which we are strongly committed to resolve. In this regard legislative and practical measures aimed at facilitating the full integration of disabled children are on the social agenda of the Bulgarian Government.

I would also like to point out the successful cooperation between the Bulgarian Government and NGOs - both national and international, especially with regard to vulnerable groups. That includes projects developed by the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy related to education, reintegration and desegregation of Roma children, to integration of disabled children, etc.

In conclusion, I would like to emphasize that my Government is determined to achieve the highest standards concerning the rights of the child in Bulgaria. This comprises an important element of the Bulgarian Government's policy towards European and Euro-Atlantic integration.

Mr./Mrs. Chairperson, Dear delegates, young people,

When we face the challenges related to children we are fully aware that the common efforts of all United Nations Member States are needed in today's globalazing world. We are convinced that more concerted and timely efforts are necessary to combat smoking, drug and alcohol use, AIDS/HIV, trafficking in children and violence against children. Today, we confront one of the greatest challenges of the modern world - combating terrorism. Therefore, we believe that only coordinated actions can protect our children.

Bulgaria reiterates its readiness to be fully involved in the consolidated actions within the framework of the United Nations. We share the noble goal to create a world fit for children. In this respect I would like to assure you that we fully support the Outcome document of the Special Session.

We believe that it is within the ability of the United Nations to successfully continue the fulfillment of their highly responsible mission in the protection of the rights of the child.

I thank You!