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DEVELOPMENT REPORT - July 30, 2001: United Nations Special Session on Children - 2001-07-31

This is the VOA Special English Development Report.

The United Nations General Assembly will hold a special session on children beginning September Nineteenth. The meeting will bring together government leaders, child activists, non-government organizations and many young people. The three-day gathering will give officials a valuable chance to change how the world thinks about children.

Eleven years ago, the U-N held a similar meeting called the “World Summit for Children.” During that conference, seventy-one heads of state and government signed a treaty aimed at improving the lives of children around the world. Efforts to reach the goals established in that treaty have made the rights of children an important issue.

The U-N agency for children, UNICEF, is supporting the special session. Officials are expected to produce a plan of action to guarantee that three important goals are reached. The goals are the best possible start in life for all children, a good education for all children and the chance for all children to become an important part of their communities. The session will also examine progress made since the Nineteen-Ninety World Summit for Children.

Former South African President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela is working toward these goals. He is joined by his wife Graca Machel who is an activist for children. They are calling on community, business and government leaders to form an international movement aimed at improving the world for young people.

The movement is hoping to build international support for a public campaign to help children. Several world leaders have joined the movement. They include South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung and Queen Rania of Jordan. Movie stars, professional sports teams, and the creators of children’s television programs and books also have joined the movement.

The group’s public campaign lists ten ways to improve the lives of young people. These include educating children, protecting them from war and fighting the disease AIDS. UNICEF officials say the goal of the movement is for people around the world to get involved, take action and work for change. They say that for every child who comes into the world, the hopes and dreams of the human race are reborn.

This VOA Special English Development Report was written by Jill Moss.