10 MAY 2002

Mr. President,

First, allow me, Sir, to express my gratitude to the members of the Preparatory Committee for the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Children and to UNICEF for their efforts in working diligently and in such a sustained manner, in search for the common denominator that unites us all, namely the advancement and well-being of our children.

I would also like to pay tribute to all delegations, NGO's and members of the Secretariat who worked assiduously by way of follow-up for the World Summit on Children.

Mr. President,

A decade after the landmark summit of world leaders that embodied an unprecedented political will by the international community to put children first, we gather here today to reinvigorate our global efforts launched in 1990 towards the advancement of children's rights, the development of international norms that address the urgent needs of children, in addition to generate the resources needed for local capacity building to improve children's lives.

This special session provides us the opportunity to review the gains made in the area of promoting the rights of the child, as well as to identify the obstacles that were faced in our endeavors, bearing in mind the need to overcome them by developing the plans required to mobilize the international community and direct it towards new challenges in -the issues of children, as well as reprioritizing those issues as they in the context of the variable parameter.

We hope that this Special Session of the General Assembly for Children would renew the political will of the international community to follow up and carry out the obligations and the standards set forth in the declaration concerning the -right to life, protection, growth and participation of children at all levels, with the aim of putting children at the center of our sustainable development efforts and creating a better future for them.

Mr. President,

In spite of the global achievements that were realized in the advancement of some of the issues related to the basic needs of children, there is dismay, however, as the progress made fell short of the goals set, despite the concrete nature of the issues raised and the realistic time frames set for addressing them. Poverty and socio-economic disparities are increasing within communities and countries between the North and the South; thus presenting the biggest obstacle on the road to meet the goals of overall development of children, including enjoyment of their rights.

Therefore, it is now our duty to accurately identify the reasons for the existence of these huge gaps in human development including child development. This is an issue that aggregates the already difficult social and economic conditions, which, in many cases lead to despair, instability and violence.

Today we look forward for a new understanding of the concept of comprehensive security, one that goes well beyond military and economic factors in their traditional meanings. One that incorporates social safety nets and human dignity, when making decisions at the international level. The world, today, is interconnected by common goals, and yet is diversified in its modalities of action. Thus human security and prevention of violations of human rights in general, and the children's rights in particular have become integral parts of the modern securing doctrine. We recall that the First world Summit for Children has addressed the issues related to the dire conditions of children in armed conflicts, including victims of foreign occupation.

In Jordan, we welcome the entry into force of the supplementary protocol related to children in armed conflicts, and the development of international standards that protect the rights of children in situations of armed conflict. Let us invite the international community to give more importance and commitment to this issue. Children around the world are subjected to extreme suffering due to armed conflict, violence and collective punishment, all of which threatens to drive the new generations towards violence themselves. Today, the painful circumstances under which Palestinian children are living, is a live example that demonstrates the need for the international community to assume the responsibility of protecting the rights of the child from being violated in many forms.

Mr. President,

Globalization presents challenges and opportunities that oblige the international community to work towards narrowing the economic and information technology gaps existing between nations through: the transfer of new technologies; providing access to international markets for goods and services of developing countries, and facilitating viable solutions to the foreign debt crisis for the countries of the south. As a consequence of the dearth of resources available, we view that the challenge for developing countries lies in the best utilization of the limited resources available to satisfy urgent needs. Nevertheless, we in Jordan believe that using communication and information technologies for teaching, and improving child education, are important elements towards enabling them to cope with the demands of the contemporary world.

The initiative launched by His Majesty King Abdullah II to give priority to making available the information technology to all schools in Jordan, as well as to enhance the skills of teachers - as a component of the economic and social programme of transformation adopted by the government - is yet another testimony to the keen interest in the development and growth of our children with a view to prepare and equip them for the challenges of life now and in the future.

Mr. President,

The programme of economic and social transformation in Jordan aims at improving the standard of living of the individual citizen by: creating an enabling environment for investment; creating job opportunities; and providing quality training for the workforce. It also includes the development of the necessary legislation for achieving economic and social development, and establishing the institutional mechanisms to revise and follow up on this legislation - such as, the upgrading of the judiciary and the establishment of the Royal Committee for Human Rights, and the National Council for Family Affairs. It also includes the creation of special juvenile courts, and training and rehabilitation centers.

The programme further aims at enhancing the educational sector, and to providing quality education to prepare our citizens to respond to the requirements of globalization and open economy, in which Jordan has chosen to be an active player. The reform of this sector also includes improving the school food programme for early primary education, in partnership with the civil society. In the health sector, the Government is expanding and improving health services, especially those relating to both motherhood and childhood.

The Government of Jordan, in its pursuit of meeting its obligations to improve the lot of our children, is well aware that this needs effective partnership on the domestic, regional, and international levels, and with the meaningful contribution of civil society and the private sector.
Political will is necessary for maintaining the momentum of progress achieved so far. However, the challenges that lay ahead of us still need a true partnership by all of us to build a world fit for children.

Thank you, Mr. President.