Children are our future, UNICEF chief says

10:19, November 17, 2009      

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"The children of China are the future of the country, and they are the future of the world," Ann M. Veneman, executive director of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), declared.

The UNICEF chief made this statement in an exclusive interview with Xinhua as the world is about to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Universal Children's Day on Nov. 20.

"I think the children of China, certainly like all children around the world, are the future of the world -- they are the future of the country of China, and they are the future of the world," she believed.

"I think it's important that we all recognize that it is the children who will inherit this world, and it is the children who deserve the investment today so that they can inherit a better world tomorrow and be better prepared to deal with it," Veneman explained.

Meanwhile, Veneman also spoke highly of the cooperation between China and the UN children's agency, which is the only UN organization dedicated exclusively to children and women.

"China has been a very good cooperator of UNICEF for many years, and we continue to have a strong relationship with China -- we have an office in China that works with the Chinese authorities looking at the most important issues of children -- whether it is access to healthcare, or better educational programs, reaching those most vulnerable children," she said.

"Because we know that in some of the areas, children don't have access to the same services that those in the cities do," the UNICEF chief remarked.

"And so, China has had a long-standing relationship with UNICEF, and I think China has made very good progress also in things like under-five mortality rates, education, and so forth ... and I think that we will continue to have a very strong relationship with the people of China and the government of China," she concluded.

UNICEF is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to champion the protection of children's rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential.

UNICEF has been in China for over 25 years, working on health and nutrition, education, child protection, water and environmental sanitation projects in the poorest areas of the country.

Source: Xinhua
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