UNICEF gathering assesses how to protect children in face of global economic woes

7 January 2009

A United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) meeting in Singapore drew over 150 academics, policy advisors, finance ministers and other senior officials to discuss how to best protect children in the face of tightening budgets due to the global economic slowdown.

A United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) meeting in Singapore drew over 150 academics, policy advisors, finance ministers and other senior officials to discuss how to best protect children in the face of tightening budgets due to the global economic slowdown.

All countries in the Asia-Pacific region have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which specifically says that children “should have the first call on resources, especially in times of economic challenge,” said Anupama Rao Singh, UNICEF Regional Director for East Asia and the Pacific.

The worldwide financial crisis is exacerbating the effects of the twin food and fuel crises, and governments are finding their budgets slashed at a time when women and children are most vulnerable.

Due to falling household incomes, some children are leaving school to join the work force too early and many youngsters are eating less, resulting in stunted physical growth and decreased intellectual capacity. Both are detrimental to long-term national economic growth.

Participants at the two-day conference at the National University of Singapore are sharing lessons learned from the 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis. They are also discussing health, nutrition, education and family income policies.

 

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