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Unicef Urges G8 Leaders To Focus On Needs

Unicef Urges G8 Leaders To Focus On Needs Of The World's Children

New York, Jul 1 2005

The head of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) today challenged the leaders of the world's richest countries ahead of next week's G8 summit to summon the collective leadership, resources and political will needed to improve the lives of more than 1 billion children living in poverty.

UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman called on the G8 to seize the unprecedented opportunity provided by their summit in Gleneagles, Scotland - set to focus largely on challenges facing Africa - and to also consider the vital needs of the world's children and the dire conditions in which so many lived. She said that the additional resources donor countries can make available, translated into sustainable services "help make child poverty history."

Recognizing the positive steps already announced by the G7 finance ministers two weeks ago to wipe out the debt of some 18 developing countries, Ms. Veneman said that further decisions this week have the potential to help 100 million children excluded from school, and the 10.6 million who die each year before the age of five. The decisions could also ensure that children in developing countries were educated about and protected from the impact of HIV/AIDS.

Ms. Veneman also called on the G8 leaders to listen to the voices of young people themselves, noting that children from eight developing countries as well as four rich nations were gathering in Scotland ahead of the G8 summit to highlight priority issues.

ENDS

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