Closer ties sought between Security Council, UNICEF to boost UN work for children

Closer ties sought between Security Council, UNICEF to boost UN work for children

The President of the United Nations Security Council today called for greater cooperation with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) through the establishment of joint mechanisms to ensure “complementary and mutually reinforcing” decisions and actions by the two bodies.

“I am convinced that we should go beyond expressions of support and recognize that it is also important to create opportunities to promote cooperation and collaboration between the intergovernmental organs of the United Nations system that have the capacity to affect situations on the ground,” Ambassador Moctar Ouane of Mali said in an address this morning to the UNICEF Executive Board as it discussed the Council’s work on the question of children in armed conflict, particularly in West Africa.

Noting that this topic had been a key issue on the Council’s agenda over the past years, Ambassador Ouane stressed that commitments alone, made in deliberations and resolutions, were not enough: “It is necessary for these decisions to make a real difference in the lives of children in the field.”

The Council has scheduled an open-ended debate for 18 December to examine the issue, Ambassador Ouane said, pointing out that the scope for action on behalf of children in West Africa was enormous. “We hope to give a regional approach to the conflicts and hopefully, to give due attention to the issue of children affected by armed conflict.”

Meanwhile, UNICEF launched today a new publication focusing on the sexual exploitation of children. The agency’s Deputy Director, Kul Gautam, told a UN press conference that the report, entitled "Profiting from Abuse,” offered an in-depth look at the commercial exploitation of children and detailed the scope and toll of that scourge, including testimonials from abused women and children.

Mr. Gautam said that there were few examples of violations of children's rights that were more shocking and intolerable than the sale and sexual abuse of children and called for a coordinated global effort to “once and for all” stamp out the networks that bought millions of children like chattel to be sold worldwide as sex slaves.

The report's launch coincided with the convening of the Second World Congress against Commercial Exploitation of Children, which opens Monday in Yokohama, Japan, and runs through 20 December. During the conference, which is co-sponsored by UNICEF, the agency’s call would be “zero tolerance” of children's sexual exploitation – putting an end to the trafficking of children, their sale and barter, imprisonment and torture.