May 10, 2002

Dear Mr. Chairman,

Entering the new millennium under the sign of globalization promising the mankind not only hopes but also alarms, the world community bears a special responsibility for the destinies of children in the entire world. We must combine our efforts ever more effectively to improve the situation of children in the world, creating for them the conditions of harmonious development of full value wherever they live.

The well-being of children should become the main criterion of social progress of society as it is particularly the children of today who will be forming the outlook of the world in the 21-st century.

The year 2001 has become a turning-point for the entire world community. The tragic events of September 11 put new tasks before the mankind, the main of them being to protect the world and to ensure the safety of our children against a terrorist threat: To counter these new challenges, the world community has no alternative to a wide-scale cooperation among all States. Solidarity in fighting terrorism gives a unique chance to build a new system of international security under the UN auspices on a solid basement of international law. 

Less than 24 hours ago in Russia in the Republic of Dagestan an appalling terrorist act took place: In the town of Kaspijsk as a result of a bomb explosion during the celebration of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 41 people were killed including 17 children. Such manifestation of barbarity, brutality and violence cannot be justified: They can be stopped only by combined efforts and I'd like to believe that our session will help to unite world community in the fight against international terrorism and extremism.

Mr. Chairman, 
The decade that passed since the Summit for Children coincided with the deepest transformations in he political, as well as social and economic structure of our state. We coordinate our efforts with priority goals set forth in final documents of the World Summit and provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child: They serve as targets in the state policy of our country to improve the situation of children: Notwithstanding the difficulties still faced by Russia today, the interests of young citizens of the country are constantly within the field of vision of the President and the Government of the Russian Federation. The Decree of the President of the Russian Federation proclaims the survival, protection and development of children as the most important task. It is for the first time in the modern history of Russia that this year's budget expenditures for education exceed those for national defence.

The leadership of the country is aware of the necessity to take consistent measures to mitigate to the maximum extent possible the impact of economic reforms on children, to ensure their rights for life and development in new social and economic conditions in the spirit of the principles of he World Declaration on the Survival, Protection and Development of Children, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, other international instruments in this field.

The realization of the mid-term state strategy to improve the situation of children till 2000, enshrined in the National Plan of Action in the interests of Children, the development of legislation, the creation of new mechanisms of realization of the rights of children, of taking into account their interests marked important steps in this direction. The program Children of Russia has been implemented since 1993: it has set at a national level the goals and ways to solve in a comprehensive way the problems of children in need of special social protection, as well as measures in `respect of urgent problems in the field of the healthcare of children, prevention of child neglect and juvenile delinquency, development of the system of social protection of children, the arrangement of summer vacations.

It was a matter of principle to adopt in 1998 the Federal Law on the Main Guarantees of the Rights of the Child in the Russian Federation-which formed a legal basis of the goals of state policy in the interests of children and the main outlines for providing for the rights of the child in Russia.

During the last decade, it has become possible to reach a considerable progress in creating an integral system of the legal protection of the interests of children taking into account new social and economic realities: Over two hundred norm-setting legal acts have been adopted, which touch upon all the spheres of vital functions of family and children and are aimed at the enhancement of measures of their social protection.

New institutions to support children and families with children have been created, which are intended to prevent social discomfort. They include the system of social services for family and children that embraces today about 3 thousand of various-type institutions providing a wide spectrum of social, psychological and pedagogical as well as legal services to children and families needing them. New forms have been developed to place orphans and children left without the parents' care into a family atmosphere. The basics of a comprehensive solution of problems of children with deviations in development are being formed, which include their social adaptation and rehabilitation. Last February, the Government of the Russian Federation adopted an order on Additional Measures to Improve the Prevention of Homelessness and Neglect among Juveniles for 2002, which, inter alia, envisages the prevention of involvement of children into the worst forms of labour, the protection of their moral and physical health.

The working out of the main outlines of the state social policy to improve the situation of children in the Russian Federation which set forth the tasks to solve the childhood problems for the ten years to come is at its final stage. The Russian Government already approved urgent measures in this field.

At the same time, the grand-scale historic changes put our country before new challenges, first of all in the support of the living standard of children in the conditions of economy in transition, and before a necessity to work out and develop mechanisms to counter new risks faced by children - neglect, social orphanhood, drugs spreading, violence in respect of children.

These problems are urgent for many other countries as well. And this is precisely why they are given such consideration in the final document. If is important that the necessity of taking special measures to support such children and institutions which take care of them is underlined, and the role of family in these matters is emphasized: We would like to see these issues among the main priorities of the UNICEF.

Mr. Chairman,
Russia highly appreciates the UN efforts to provide for the rights of children and intends to continue to participate actively in international ooperation in this field.

The preparation has been started to ratify the following documents signed by Russia: the additional Protocol to the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involment of Children in Armed Conflict, as well as the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, permitting a more efficient protection of the rights of girls. The ILO 182 Convention on the Prohibition and Immediate Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour is ready for ratification.

We  highly appreciate the results of two regional events we actively participated in within the framework of the preparation to the special session- the Conference of the Participating States of the Commonwealth of Independent States in Minsk and the Conference on Children in Europe and Central Asia held in Berlin. We are satisfied that the priorities of countries with economies in transition in the field of protection and development of 
children were taken into account in the final document of the special session World Fit for Children.

All speakers at the present Special Session of the General Assembly emphasized, that children-were priceless treasure and their well-being was the pledge of the sustainable development of the entire humanity. And that is why it is not by accident that many delegates emphasized that such global forums as the recent International Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey and the forthcoming World Summit on. Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, which are called to solve- problems that are by far not children's ones, must in the end serve to the interests of children. If we want the development of the world to be really progressive and sustainable, all the results of such global forums first of all should serve the needs of those, who will continue the life on Earth, that is of our children.

Many provisions of the final document of our session are devoted to the urgency of mobilization of additional resources for the well-being of children. In his opening statement UN Secretary General Kofi Annan also decisively spoke about the necessity to provide investments in the development of children as the major requisite for the creation of a better world.

We believe that the resources of large private companies and corporations may and should become an additional source of financing national and international programs in the interests of children. These companies in collaboration with the UNICEF could make their contribution to the upbringing of the generation of intellectually developed, spiritually and physically sound young people: Such activity of private business would fully correspond with the very useful, in our opinion, the UN General Secretary "Global Compact" initiative.

Finally, I would like to highly appreciate the active work of the UN Children's Fund headed by its Executive Director Carol Bellamy which not only in many ways provided for the success of this special session but will, as we hope, become a pledge to implement relevant international obligations in the decade to come.

During my short speech thousands of new citizens of our planet were born. Let us wish them peaceful and happy childhood and never to know privations and hunger, wars and violence.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.