the following Excerpts from the Special Session on Children – May
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in his opening statement
to the General Assembly, addressed the children of the
world. "We, the grown-ups, have failed you deplorably,…"
he said, adding, "One in three of you has suffered
from malnutrition before you turned five years old. One
in four of you has not been immunized against any disease.
Almost one in five of you is not attending school….
We, the grown-ups, must reverse this list of failures."
Carol Bellamy, UNICEF Executive Director, echoed his
concern for the need to accelerate progress for children. "If
we want to overcome poverty and the instability it breeds,
we must start by investing in our young people," she
said. "I implore national leaders to seriously examine
their records on children. Are you getting all your children
into the classroom? Are you protecting all your children
against disease? Are they safe from abuse, exploitation
and violence? Unfortunately, we already know the answers.
We know we have work to do."
2. Ask students: What seem to be the common themes mentioned
by the UN Secretary-General and the UNICEF Executive
- Obvious answers: adult failure, malnutrition, immunization,
limited education access, poverty, disease, abuse, exploitation,
3. Write down the words in your notes in descending order.
Next to each word the class will write words that describe
the opposite. Take one at a time and have students share
ideas. List on overhead as they offer words.
adult failure – adult aide, respect
malnutrition - healthy lives, medicine, better sanitation,
affordable health care
limited education access – ensure education access
poverty – enough food, place to live, health care
disease – enough medicine, better sanitation, affordable
abuse – protection laws
exploitation – labor laws to protect,
violence – laws that protect against rape, death,
4. Background Note: This special session was one of several
that have taken place and continue to take place every
year as part of the United Nations purpose. The United
Nations has many responsibilities that all revolve around
bringing all nations of the world together to work for
peace and development, based on the principles of justice,
human dignity and the well-being of all people. Included
in all of this are a group of people that don’t
have a legal voice in most countries – the children.
By meeting at this special session, the world was reminded
that children need to be protected by the adults in their
worlds. In this session a specific list of 10 imperatives
was the outcome.
Like this class just did, the UN Session worked on creating
a list of imperatives that would address these oversights
towards children for a more positive outcome. Share them
with the class.
5. Have students write down the UN special session’s
10 imperatives for children in their notes.
Leave No Child Out
All forms of discrimination and exclusion against children
2. Put Children First
It is the responsibility of everyone – governments,
individuals, non-governmental organizations, religious
groups, the private sector and children and adolescents
themselves – to ensure that children's rights
3. Care for Every Child
Ensure all children the best possible start in life.
4. Fight HIV/AIDS
Protect children, adolescents and their families.
5. Stop Harming and Exploiting Children
Violence and abuse must be stopped now. The sexual
and economic exploitation of children must end.
6. Listen to Children
Respect the rights of children and young people to
express themselves and to participate in making the
that affect them.
7. Educate Every Child
Every child – all girls and boys – must
be allowed to learn.
8. Protect Children from War
No child should experience the horrors of armed conflict.
9. Protect the Earth for Children
Safeguard the environment at global, national and local
10. Fight Poverty
Invest in Children Invest in services that benefit
the poorest children and their families, such as basic
care and primary education. Make the well-being of
children a priority objective of debt relief programs,
assistance and government spending.
Assign an imperative to each student and have them create
a Verbal Visual Vocabulary
poster for it. This entails dividing a sheet of paper
into 4 parts as follows:
is this necessary?
to accompany article (illustration)
can the imperative be met?
Attach vertically and in order as on the UN list. Post
around the room. Students
will enjoy seeing their work and the work of other
8. Mention: These 10 imperatives were put on-line so
that people, including children, could voice their
concerns. Individuals were asked what their 3 top concerns
so that the UN could compile a list of how important
all of these imperatives are. The project was called
Say Yes for Children.
9. It’s the student’s turn: Ask them: Will
you say yes for children? Will you empower yourselves?
Homework: Have students go to the following web page
and say yes to children.
Ask: How many of you were revolutionaries yesterday?
How many of you Said Yes to Children?