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Series of regional meetings launched in advance of UN session on children

Series of regional meetings launched in advance of UN session on children

The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) today heralded the start of a three-week period during which regional meetings on children and young people would be held in Beijing, Berlin, Kathmandu and Cairo.

Calling the period "a major month for children," UNICEF said the meetings would involve some 130 governments and hundreds of other organizations. The voices of thousands of participating young people would infuse all four meetings with unusual urgency and relevance, UNICEF added.

The meeting in Beijing, from 14 - 16 May, will be attended by government ministers from East Asia and the Pacific. The Berlin event, 16 - 18 May, will host representatives of 52 governments from Europe and Central Asia. In Kathmandu, from 19 - 24 May, three separate meetings will enable young people, business leaders and government ministers to set priorities for children. The Cairo meeting, from 28 - 31 May, will be attended by government ministers, intellectuals and youth representatives.

All four regional meetings will serve as a prelude to the UN General Assembly's special session on children, that will take place in New York this September to review progress on global goals and endorse a new agenda for children and young people.

"September's session on children will be a culmination of all the work being done around the world right now," UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy said. She added that stressing the link between healthy children today and a healthy world tomorrow was the purpose of the special session.

"We think the various regional meetings this month are helping forge this link," she said.