20 novembre 1989 Representatives of governments, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), citizen interest groups and United Nations bodies met in New York City at the United Nations Headquarters to discuss the plight of the world’s children and what NGOs can do to better their condition.
As an NGO the Archdiocese joined 1,100 representatives from 60 countries who analyzed and examined the critical factors affecting the world’s children during the Annual Conference of the United Nations Department of Public Information for Non-Governmental Organizations. This conference followed the adoption by the UN General Assembly in November 1989 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The conclusions of the Annual NGO Conference were summarized and submitted to the World Leaders who met at the World Summit for Children at the UN Headquarters. The special report was entitled “Making the World Safe for Children.
The 72 Heads of State attending the World Summit for Children completed their working sessions by signing the World Declaration on the Survival, Protection and Development of Children committing themselves to a 10 point program to protect the rights of children and to improve their lives. Six children read out the text of the Declaration in each of the official languages of the United Nations after which it was adopted by acclamation.
The Declaration committed the signatories to reducing the number of infant deaths in the world by the year 2,000, halving the number of women who die in childbirth, reducing severe and moderate malnutrition among children under five, and guaranteeing that children everywhere will have access to clean water and basic education by the end of the century.
These pledges illustrate the growing belief among experts that improving health and education around the world is the key to reducing third world poverty.
At the national level, each country was encouraged to give high priority to meet these goals. UNICEF was requested to analyze the plans and actions of individual countries as well as the international community in achieving children’s survival, protection and development in the 1990’s.