China on Wednesday called for "decisive and coordinated" efforts at national, regional and global levels to create a brighter future for children.
The appeal came as Chinese State Councilor Wu Yi was speaking to the UN General Assembly Special Session on Children, which opened at the UN headquarters in New York.
"To show concern for children is to show concern for the future of mankind," said Wu, who is also head of the Chinese delegation to the special session. "To protect children is to protect our future."
"We have already ushered in a new century, high and new technologies are advancing leaps and bounds," she said. "The enormous strength and huge resources in the hands of mankind for poverty alleviation and development offers both the possibility and promises for the further promotion of the survival, protection and development of children."
"We urgently need to take decisive and coordinated actions at national, regional and global levels to further implement the follow-up actions of the World Summit for Children and to effectively respond to new issues and challenges so as to create a brighter future for children," she said.
Wu dwelled on China's proposals for the protection and development of children.
"First, 'Children first' should be the basic principle for child development," she said. "The interests of children should come first at all times."
"With the foresight of being responsible for the future generations, all governments should further incorporate child development in their national economic and social development strategies and set their targets and programs for action for child development in light of their national conditions," she said.
Efforts should be made to strengthen the protection of the legitimate rights and interests of children, continuously improve laws and rules and regulations and create a favorable environment for children's healthy growth, she said.
"In addition, while giving full play to the leading role of the central government in addressing children's issues, it is necessary to mobilize all social forces, including nongovernmental organizations, private sectors, communities and families, to push for an all-round development of the cause of children," she said.
"Secondly, the eradication of poverty is the prerequisite for child development," she said.
"Children are the biggest victims of poverty, and poverty presents severe challenges to children's dignity and fundamental rights," she said. "To solve the question of child development at its root, it is essential to start with the eradication of poverty."
Therefore, all governments and the international community must take every possible measure to reduce poverty and provide more and balanced development and narrow the gap between regions and nations so that all children will benefit from economic globalization and technological advancement and that social justice and fairness will be attained, she said.
"Thirdly, an urgent task for child development is to highlight the priorities," she said. "We support the current special session in its effort to set a feasible child development objective and take corresponding measures targeted at the outstanding issues in the area of child development in countries, regions and across the world."
"More attention should be paid to these issues and additional input should be made in terms of personnel, resources and funds," she said.
"Fourthly, international cooperation is an important guarantee for child development," she said.
"Effective international cooperation is indispensable for the settlement of child issues in the world," she said.
"The developed countries have the responsibility and obligations to provide funds for the developing countries, transfer technologies useful to the protection and development of children, the low-cost disease-preventing technologies in particular, and help strengthen the capacity building of the developing countries in the field of child development," she said.
"More importantly, the developed countries should honor their commitments in terms of fund, technology, debt and trade, create favorable external development environment for the developing countries, and narrow the gap between the North and the South so as to enable the latter to put more resources in the survival, protection and development of children," she said.
The current special session, scheduled to conclude on Friday, is a major UN conference focused on global progress for children and the key role that investment in children can play in building global peace and security.
(Xinhua News Agency May 9, 2002)