INDIA: NGOs message at UN Special Session follow-up event

"We, non-governmental organisations, networks and civil society groups meeting in India to assess what has been done to make the world fit for children since 2002, commend the initiative taken by the United Nations to take stock of progress for children worldwide, and welcome the holding of the General Assembly’s Special Session for this important review.

While we are glad to find evidence of positive change on some objectives in some countries, we note with concern that the UN assessment of world action to date is that it is “not enough” overall. We are conscious that the objectives set for 2015 are themselves renewals of promises made in 1990, for attainment by 2000 -- and not fulfilled.

We note from the Secretary-General’s special report Children and the Millennium Goals – Progress Towards a World Fit for Children, and from UNICEF’s 2007 Progress for Children Statistical Review, that many critical targets are likely to be missed. We note the serious shortfalls and defaults still listed as ‘unfinished business.’ We recognise that much of our own region of South Asia, which is home to the largest share of the world’s child population, is among the defaulters. We regret to find that lack of progress in establishing strong and updated national data bases is itself undermining capacity to focus on most-needed interventions, and to accurately monitor results.

We register our concern that the Secretary-General’s report places the World Fit for Children (WffC) assessment in the frame of the MDGs: our case is that the full range and substance of children’s rights, set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and comprehensively echoed in the WffC action plan is not adequately addressed in the eight MDGs, notably in respect of children’s right to protection and in budgetary investment. The internationally accepted provisions and standards of the CRC are indivisible; they cannot be selectively pursued.

We write to you in the hope that the current special session will not merely discuss the challenges and set new extended time-tables for achievement. Children cannot wait. Countries and the international bodies must demonstrate greater will and commitment. We ask you to ensure that the General Assembly makes a sincere and genuine commitment to achieving the goals it reaffirmed in 2002.

We take this opportunity to affirm to you our highest esteem and consideration, and to convey our best wishes for the success of the special session."

Indian NGOs engaged in the Citizens Collective Country Review of Child Rights.

New Delhi, India, 12th December 2007

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