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UN Follow-up

The Summit’s Plan of Action requested the cooperation of UN organizations in assisting countries’ efforts to achieve the goals for children. UNICEF, the only UN organization exclusively mandated to protect children, has been deeply involved in the follow-up process, helping countries with their NPAs and monitoring progress through the mid-term reviews. It has worked closely with WHO, UNESCO and other international and national partners to develop indicators to monitor children’s progress. Since 1992, the annual UNICEF publication The Progress of Nations has recorded the advances and setbacks for children and women in all regions of the world.

UNICEF has also actively pursued universal ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, with the support of many NGOs. In the process, UNICEF has become strongly identified with the cause of child rights in ways that have important implications for its future work in both industrialized and developing countries. It works with Governments to protect the entire spectrum of children’s rights, including access to health care and basic education, as well as to protect abandoned children, children caught up in the violence of war, street children, children subject to special forms of abuse and discrimination and child victims of hazardous labour and sexual exploitation. To develop strategies to combat this last, crushing form of exploitation, UNICEF was a co-sponsor of the first-ever World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, in Stockholm in August 1996.

Progress has been made, yet challenges remain, among them eliminating the significant disparities in the status of children between regions and countries, as well as within countries, which the mid-decade review identified. Renewed efforts must be made to overcome these disparities and ensure that all children benefit from the commitments made by world leaders at the World Summit for Children.

But what has also emerged in the years after the Summit is the close link between progress made for children and gains in human development. The Governments and numerous partners working to achieve the goals on behalf of the world’s children have, in the process, helped catalyse efforts towards many other social and economic goals to which the international community has committed itself during the 1990s. These include the slowing of population growth, the preservation and judicious management of the environment, the pursuit of human rights and the reduction of poverty.

The 1990s and the series of international conferences the decade ushered in began with a powerful act of mobilization behind the children’s cause. Through the World Summit for Children and the political commitments and social energies it generated, a climate has been fostered in which social development goals could be set and the resources needed to meet them could be allocated as legitimate and important investments in human development.

Sustaining progress for children, then, is an essential element in sustaining global momentum towards a better and more just world for all.


 

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© Copyright United Nations 23 May 1997 | Department of Public Information | Revised 23 May 1997