First, I would like to congratulate you for calling this important review of the world’s far-reaching commitments to children. I commend your new report for its honest assessments, and I share the concern that progress for children has not been adequate. Far, far too many children continue to suffer needlessly.
It is my earnest hope that the WFFC +5 review session of the General Assembly will dramatically energize the UN’s positive influence on world governments to step up their efforts for children.
It is time for all who influence these decisions and investments to unite in the determination to give children’s rights first priority everywhere. Development for children is development for all.
As you know, our Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) continues to stand committed to bringing leaders and grassroots workers from every religion together to advance children’s rights in their own communities, nations, and the world.
We have been hard at work since 2002 to realize the three commitments made – to ethics education, poverty eradication, and implementation of the CRC – in my Statement to the Special Session on Children of the General Assembly. Our initiatives in six major world regions continue to grow, impacting more and more children’s lives through peace education in Africa, interventions against violence in urban areas in Latin America, a region-wide ethics promotion campaign run by children, and training for educators and NGOs on the CRC in the Middle East.
Further, at the Third Global Forum of the GNRC in May 2008 in Hiroshima, Japan, our “Toolkit on Ethics Education for Children,” a multicultural, values-based curriculum developed with the cooperation of UNICEF and UNESCO and field-tested worldwide, will be delivered for use in schools and other formal and informal educational settings around the world.
The Third Global Forum will issue a call to conscience on the ethical imperative to defend children from the threats posed by violence, poverty, and environmental destruction. You have my pledge that it will reinforce the commitment of religious leaders to children’s rights, and equip them to better mobilize the vast resources of their faith traditions and communities in the effort to make this world truly fit for children.
Inaugurator, Global Network of Religions for Children
President, Arigatou Foundation
December 12, 2007