Jim Emerson, Secretary General of the ChildFund Alliance, spoke yesterday at a prestigious meeting in New York. Focused on the UN’s post-2015 agenda, Emerson highlighted the importance of including child protection and prevention of violence against children in the 2015 Millennium Campaign.
Held at UNICEF House, the meeting was co-hosted by the governments of Canada and Liberia, as well as representatives of 49 governments and leading non-government organisations. The Liberian Minister of Gender and Development, Julia Duncan Cassell, opened the meeting together with the President of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Margaret Biggs.
The panel included Martin Mogwanja, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF; Marta Santos Pais, the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative on Violence Against Children; Corinne Woods, Global Director of the UN Millennium Campaign; and Dr Neil Boothby, the United States Government Special Adviser and Senior Coordinator on Children in Adversity, USAID.
Jim Emerson read a statement to the audience and panel that had been agreed by several leading NGOs including the ChildFund Alliance, Family for Every Child, Plan International, Save the Children, UNICEF and World Vision International.
He said: “Thanks to the efforts of national governments and the international community, more children than ever before are being saved from preventable diseases. More children are in schools and in safe, permanent environments – their access to clean water and sanitary facilities improving dramatically. As countries develop economically, children’s “basics” are increasingly being better met.
“But what are we saving children from, unless we can guarantee their protection, so they can grow, thrive and engage as active citizens in their families and communities across every stage of the lifecycle? The protection of children and the promotion of their well-being is closely linked to the development of any society.”
Currently, over 115 million children are working in the worst forms of child labour and an estimated 150 million girls and 73 million boys under 18 are raped or subject to sexual violence. Three out of four children experience violent discipline at home, and over two million children around the world live in care institutions.
The ChildFund Alliance believes this global crisis will only be resolved if governments, UN agencies and other actors engaged in the framework to develop the Post-2015 Agenda ensure that the protection of children from violence, abuse and exploitation is realised.
ChildFund Australia CEO Nigel Spence said: “Child protection is a widespread global issue affecting children in developed countries, such as Australia, and developing countries. Children’s rights to survival and development can only be realised if their safety and protection are guaranteed. A sustained and coordinated effort by political and community leaders, parents, teachers and caregivers is required.”