UNICEF welcomes renewed commitment to child rights, urges all Member States to leave no child behind

Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore

NEW YORK, 20 November 2019– “Today we mark a momentous day for child rights. On World Children’s Day and as we mark the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 105 Member States have aligned to a Global Pledge promising to renew their commitment to children’s rights.

“At the United Nations Headquarters and in more than 50 countries, children and young people have been speaking out at national summits on issues that matter to them, like the climate crisis, safety in an online world, rising migration and lack of opportunities.

“Over the last 30 years, while millions of children have seen their lives improve, millions of others have continued to grapple with poverty, inequality, discrimination and conflicts. Worse still, the 21st century has brought forth new challenges that were unimaginable just a few generations ago.

“As childhood changes, we need to change our approaches along with it. That is why we are asking all Member States to renew their commitment to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and implement child rights fit for the 21st century. As the youth-led movements we are witnessing around the world clearly show, the world can no longer afford to ignore the voices of children and young people as they demand their rights and ask to be part of the solution.

“The 105 States that have aligned to the Pledge so far are showing bold commitment and leadership. From the national pledge to end violence against children in Jamaica to the promise of a new maternal-newborn health policy in Bhutan, we are seeing serious political commitment to leaving no child behind.

“But this is not enough. We need all Member States to seize this momentous occasion to translate the vision of the Convention of the Rights of the Child into a reality for all children.

“To help chart a way forward, UNICEF plans to undertake a global dialogue over the next 12 months with the participation of children and young people, parents and caregivers, education and social workers, communities and governments, civil society, academia, the private sector and the media. I am confident that this dialogue will help influence the way we do business in the future.”