|Festivity marks the celebration of International Children’s Day 2017. |
More than 300 participants, most of them young pre-school children between the ages of three and five, travelled from across Timor-Leste to celebrate this significant milestone, the launching of the National Action Plan for Children jointly by the President and the Prime Minister of Timor-Leste, a first in the young nation’s history.
With the Presidential gardens full of balloons and flowers, a pre-school marching band played and children ran around waving Timorese flags. The energy and excitement was contagious, with all present celebrating the progress made and the promise of an even brighter future. The way forward was emotionally captured as the children sang, “We are the world, we are the children, we are the ones who make a brighter day…...”
Launching the National Action Plan: Investing for future
“Together we join our hands to take care of children because they are our future,” said Francisco Guterres Lú-Olo, President of Timor-Leste. The symbolic handing over of the NAPC to a young girl, Arsenia, a grade 7 student from Café Liquica Basic Education School, was a moving moment during the celebrations. After receiving the book from the President, she then handed it over to the Prime Minister, Rui Maria de Araújo, placing responsibility for the wellbeing and development of children of Timor-Leste in his hands.
Francisco Guterres Lú-Olo, President of Timor-Leste handing over the National Action Plan to Arsenia,
a grade 7 student in the presence of the Prime Minister and others. ©UNICEF Timor-Leste/2017/ahelin
“The National Action Plan for Children provides guidelines to government and all partners for defining policies, legal frameworks and programmes and activities that can benefit and bring changes for the children of Timor-Leste” he continued, while reflecting on the importance of the plan.
|President Francisco Guterres Lú-Olo and the Prime Minister, Dr. Rui Maria de Araújo |
jointly launched the National Action Plan for Children with renewed commitment.
The National Action Plan: Voices of people
Following the 70th session of the UN Committee on the Rights of Children held in September 2015, the Government of Timor-Leste received the Concluding Observation from the Committee. One of the key recommendations for Timor-Leste was the adoption of a plan of action for ensuring child rights.
Accordingly, the NAPC was developed with the collective efforts of various ministries, municipality (districts) offices, and civil society organizations including children. The initiative was led by the Commission for the Rights of the Child, with support from UNICEF. It focuses on four key areas: child protection, child and adolescent health and nutrition, pre-school and basic education and child and youth participation. These thematic areas will be supported through the creation of a strong enabling environment, by addressing cross cutting issues such as law and legislation, budget allocation, advocacy and monitoring and evaluation as mentioned in the document. The importance of harmonizing child-related goals, strategies and timelines by all government ministries collectively was at the centre of discussions.
Investing in the Future
“Today we are all here to launch the National Action Plan for Children. This is our achievement and reflection of the commitment of our VI Constitutional Government to ensure child rights. It’s also reflected in our key documents such as the Strategic Development Plan,” said the Prime Minister Rui Maria de Araújo while emphasizing on the importance of implementation of the NAPC.
|Performance of little stars during the celebration of International Children’s Day. |
©UNICEF Timor-Leste/2017/ asharmin
|Scott Whoolery, Representative (a.i.) and Deputy Representative of UNICEF Timor-Leste |
handing over the gift to the winner of the art competition.
The full implementation of the NAPC will enable children of Timor-Leste to reach their full potential, specifically children who are disadvantaged and leaving no one behind. This was summed up by the crowd, led by the Prime Minister, chanting “One for all, All for one.”
By Cecilia McIntosh, UNICEF Intern