Latest update March 23rd, 2023 12:59 AM
Sep 30, 2016 News
Stepping up measures to strengthen child protection is very crucial. This is according to outgoing United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) Representative, Ms. Marianne Flach, during a press conference at the UNICEF Brickdam,
Georgetown, headquarters, yesterday.
Flach stressed the importance of child protection efforts being strengthened not only in Guyana. According to her, cross border issues must also be given keen attention in the quest to improve child protection.
She spoke of the need to give attention to migration issues that are likely to increase since in some neighbouring countries poverty is increasing. “As you know there are quite a number of Guyanese in Suriname…Suriname is currently going through economic crisis. It may mean that Guyanese families will come back or it may mean that Surinamese families may cross the border to look for job opportunities here in Guyana. We also know that the situation in Venezuela is worrying,” Flach related yesterday.
Economic issues, according to the UNICEF Representative, often help to destabilise families whereby parents move and leave their children behind. “This is not always the best situation for children,” Flach asserted.
But Flach is confident that she ends her tenure in Guyana, leaving behind guidelines that could help put measures in place to help protect children, and this, she said, is clearly detailed in a Situation Analysis on women and children in Guyana which was on Wednesday handed over to Minister of Social Protection, Ms. Volda Lawrence.
Pointing to the document, Flach said it contains data that seeks to explain why some situations that hamper the protection of women and children are prevailing. It, however, outlines what can be done to address such situations.
The analysis was completed using raw data from the 2014 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) which saw efforts being made to reach 90 per cent of the population on the coast and the other 10 per cent in the large hinterland.
“With documents like this, sometimes you do not capture all of the details especially with what is going on in the hinterland in certain villages…so sometimes in addition to this, we do some specific studies,” Flach related.
To improve efforts in this regard, Flach said that UNICEF is gearing to work with the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples Affairs in the coming months to understand the situation faced by women and children.
But according to Flach, as part of the process of putting measures in place to enhance the protection of children, an important stakeholder conference on child rights and business that focused on the extractive sector was convened in January.
Based on the knowledge and insight gained through the meeting, Flach said that UNICEF will be looking at creating partnerships with extractive businesses as they are key stakeholders in addressing issues such as child protection.
Businesses, according to her, can also play an important role in addressing environmental issues such as Mercury contamination which affect children more severely than adults.
“An important part of achieving progress for children is the adequate allocation of resources across all sectors. Sufficient, equitable and efficient investment in children is crucial for the full realization of children’s civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights,” Flach added.
Flach reported too that last week in Geneva, the Committee on the Rights of the Child launched General Comment 19 on “Public budgeting for the realization of children’s rights”, which clearly sets out the obligations for Member States to properly budget and manage expenditures to realize children’s rights.
“We know that investing in a country’s human capital is the key to a sustainable future. Before, our concern was quantity (how much is spent on children and on what), now our concern is also quality, how well the money is spent and to what extent it produces results for children,” said Flach as she disclosed that “UNICEF encourages and stands ready to support the Government of Guyana, to ensure equitable and measurable budgeting for children.”
Although she is currently in outgoing mode, Flach committed UNICEF’s support to ensuring that “all children can grow up safe, healthy, and have every opportunity to reach their full potential and contribute to the sustainable development of their communities, their nation and their world.”
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