Poverty removal, child care should be on post-2015 agenda: India to UN

United Nations: India has told the UN that poverty eradication and special attention to children's needs should be the central goal for the post-2015 development agenda to ensure that youngsters get a protective and nurturing environment.

India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Bhagwant Bishnoi said during a meeting of the executive board of UNICEF that 568 million children globally are still living in extreme poverty and persisting challenge of inadequate investment for their well-being is often exacerbated by economic crises, natural disasters and armed conflict.

"Eradication of poverty and special attention to children needs to be central to the post-2015 Development Agenda. This has to be accompanied by focused cross-cutting strategies, including capacity development, partnerships, social inclusion and knowledge management aligned with national policies and priorities," he said.

Bishnoi said the focus should be to ensure protective and nurturing environments for all the world's children. He added that India is home to 472 million children, nearly 20 per cent of the world's child population and voiced the country's commitment to the development of every child, ensuring his or her rights and protection from exploitation.

He highlighted the recently launched 'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao' programme in India, which is aimed at ensuring protection of girls, increasing their participation in secondary education and their overall development.

Another programme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi 'Sukanya Samriddhi Account' seeks to provide economic
assistance to the girl child. Bishnoi noted that sound financial health is integral to the effective and efficient functioning of UNICEF, which has its largest overseas presence in India.

As the international community embarks on the post-2015 development agenda this year, he said the timely adoption of a global monitoring and oversight system for activities undertaken by country offices and the national committees will help in bridging functional and financial gaps.

While UNICEF continues to be a "trusted development partner" for program countries, there is need to evolve clearer guidelines for managing and scaling up its programmes, including evaluation.

A comprehensive resource mobilisation strategy that addresses funding concerns, especially for health and education programmes, would enable UNICEF to achieve targets in a more responsive manner, he said, adding that increased
allocation is required in areas of health and education as these are imperatives for all developing countries.

He also emphasised the importance of continuing to leverage South-South Cooperation in partnering with the countries of the South. "This would be additional to, and not a replacement, for North South Cooperation," he added.

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