UNICEF hails joint move by European, Central Asian nations to help children

UNICEF hails joint move by European, Central Asian nations to help children

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said today that the just-concluded meeting of 51 European and Central Asian countries and the Holy See in Berlin had produced an important commitment to creating an environment fit for young people in the region.

"This is the first time that governments from Europe and Central Asia come together and jointly commit themselves to further the efforts of implementing the Convention of the Rights of the Child," UNICEF said in a statement issued in Berlin, Geneva and New York. "The 'Berlin Commitment' recognizes that children are citizens in their own right, must be consulted and involved in issues concerning them, and that investing in their development is the key to build a peaceful and prosperous society."

European and Central Asian Governments, and the Holy See outlined goals for further development of child-friendly policies over the next 10 years, focusing on the importance to adjust national legislation, provide the necessary funding, monitor progress, and take other action necessary to realize the rights of children.

The Berlin meeting, titled the "Conference on Children in Europe and Central Asia" was the culmination of a series of consultations between governments, non-governmental organizations, young people, UNICEF and other UN agencies, the European Union, the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and other regional bodies.

It also served as a regional prelude to the first ever UN General Assembly special session on children, scheduled to take place this September in New York. There, UN Member States and their leaders will review progress on global goals made in 1990 during the World Summit for Children, and commit to a new agenda for the world's young people.