The actions and inactions of governments have a greater impact on children than on any other group in society. This is despite the known fact that children are particularly vulnerable to poverty, hunger, poor healthcare and living conditions.

This state of affairs was highlighted yesterday by the United Nations (UN) Secretary General, António Guterres. His remarks were forthcoming at an event at the UN New York headquarters yesterday to mark the 30th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child to which Guyana and over 100 odd countries are signatories.

According to Guterres, “the more we learn about child development, the clearer it is that the first decade of life is the most important.”

This therefore means, the Secretary General said, that “a child’s potential can be stunted by poor nutrition before the age of two” moreover, “a child’s life chances may be set by the time s/he starts school.”

But the Convention on the Rights of the Child has galvanized action.

This has translated to more children than ever before now getting the protection and support they need, Guterres said. 

He recognized that in the past 30 years, deaths of children under five have fallen by half – and so has the number of undernourished children.

Rights have become reality for millions of children.

“In many places, Governments and civil society are working together to provide support to children in war zones, to end child marriage and to give children and young people a voice in the decisions that affect them,” said Guterres.

But there is still more to be done.  This is in light of the fact, he added, that “Millions of children around the world are hungry, sick or in danger. Others are suffering because of their religion, ethnicity or disability.”

With this in mind, Guterres said, “As we celebrate the success of this landmark Convention, let’s re-commit to putting children first.”

As such he made an appeal for the countries to sign a global pledge to reaffirm their commitment to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. “Together, let’s match the efforts and progress from the last three decades with a renewed promise… For every child, every right.”



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