THE SECRETARY-GENERAL — REMARKS TO EVENT ON 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD

New York, 25 Sept 2019

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

Thirty years ago, nations joined together to make an unprecedented promise to the children of the world.

They pledged not only to proclaim children’s rights, but to uphold them and be accountable for them.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child was a landmark achievement.

For the first time, governments explicitly recognized that children have the same human rights as adults – as well as specific additional rights that recognize their special status as dependents.

The Convention recognizes a child’s right to health, medicine and nutrition.

To clean water and sanitation.

To a seat in a classroom – including for children with disabilities, and children in war zones.

The Convention recognizes that children have a right to protection and safety in their homes, neighbourhoods and villages.

They have the right to express their opinions. And the right to be heard.

This Convention is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history. We look forward to the day when allUnited Nations Member States give it their full backing.

Its near universal membership has created unprecedented international solidarity around children’s rights.

It reflects a global consensus around the role of families, communities and the state in protecting and nurturingchildren.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

The actions and inactions of governments have a greater impact on children than on any other group in society.

Children are particularly vulnerable to poverty, hunger, poor healthcare and living conditions.

And the more we learn about child development, the clearer it is that the first decade of life is the most important.

A child’s potential can be stunted by poor nutrition before the age of 2.

A child’s life chances may be set by the time she starts school.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child has galvanized action.

More children than ever before are now getting the protection and support they need.

In the past 30 years, deaths of children under 5 have fallen by half – and so has the number of undernourished children.

Rights have become reality for millions of children.

In many places, Governments and civil society are working together to provide support to children in war zones, to end child marriage and to give children and young people a voice in the decisions that affect them.