We need children's hope now more than ever says UN Secretary-General
| Updated Nov 22, 2017 at 3:20am
Secretary-General António Guterres (right) at the Children's Takeover event in New York, with Basel Al Rashdan, a young Syrian refugee and advocate who now lives with his family in Canada. UN Photo/Kim Haughton.
"Children’s futures are in our hands. There is no greater responsibility"
Children across the world have been assured that their voices will be heard at the United Nations.
The pledge was made by none other than UN Secretary-General António Guterres, speaking to scores of young people gathered at UN Headquarters in New York on Monday to celebrate World Children's Day.
The UN chief began his address by pointing out that his job normally entails meeting with presidents, prime ministers and other powerful and important people.
But, he said, none are as important or inspiring as the children he meets.
Mr. Guterres stated that young people hold the future of the planet in their hands—and adults are letting them down.
Too many are going hungry, or fleeing deadly conflict, or facing other challenges such as being bullied or suffering discrimination because of their religion, skin colour or ethnicity.
"In a world that can so often seem to be a hopeless place, we need children's hope, more than ever. And so today — World Children's Day — the walls of the United Nations will echo with the voices and the hopes of your group; of children. As Secretary-General, I pledge to you that we will listen, and do our best to honour that hope…As we pursue the Sustainable Development Goals — which represent the promises the governments of the world have made to shape a better world for every person and for every child, we remain committed to being informed by your views, your ideas, your suggestions, your plans."
The World Children's Day ceremony is part of a series of so-called "take-over" events across the planet, with children "taking over" key roles in media, politics, business, sports and entertainment.
The day is for children, by children, to save lives, promote children's rights and to help them fulfill their potential, according to the UN children's agency, UNICEF.
Dianne Penn, United Nations/GBCONLINE.