A billion brains: Smarter children, healthier economics
The third high level meeting on South-South Cooperation for Child Rights in Asia-Pacific (HLM3), is being held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 7-8 November 2016, jointly organized by the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, Government of Malaysia and the UNICEF. The meeting entitled “A BILLION BRAINS: Smarter Children, Healthier Economies” was based on three thematic papers: social protection, preventing violence against children (VAC) and accelerating Universal Health Coverage for children, women and families. The theme is central to efforts being made in countries across the region as they look at ways to implement the 2030 Agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals – the globally agreed roadmap for transforming the world and leaving no one behind.
The meeting is being attended by Dy. Prime Ministers, Ministers, Secretaries and senior officials from 28 countries in the Asia-Pacific Region. The Bhutanese delegation led by Lyonpo Dorji Choden, Chairperson of the National Commission of Women and Children (NCWC) and the Minister of Works and Human Settlements (MoWHS), includes officials from the National Commission for Women and Children, the Gross National Happiness Commission and UNICEF Bhutan Country Office.
The meeting looks at how the most prominent source of economic growth lies in cognitive capital and how investments in improved and extended social protection provisions, Universal Health Care for children, women and families and approaches for preventing violence against children have significant returns on investment and contribute to sustained growth.
The meeting also includes presentation on the findings from the youth poll conducted in 19 countries of the Asia Pacific region around the three themes. Side by side, a Youth Innovation Challenge Bootcamp is being held at Kuala Lumpur in which two Bhutanese youth are also participating. The three winning proposals will be awarded funding support at the closing event of the high level meeting.
The high level meeting discussions include high level panel discussions around the themes of social protection, universal health care and violence against children to discuss what countries have achieved and the challenges that remain in the efforts towards the promotion and protection of child rights. Bhutan will participate in the panel discussions on violence against children. With the recent completion and launch of the threephase violence against children study in Bhutan, it provides a good opportunity for the country to share experiences and best practices and learn from the region as well.
The high level meeting also serves as a platform for intensifying efforts by countries towards the promotion and protection of child rights through the sharing of experiences and good practices in establishing effective mechanisms for strengthening exchange and cooperation across the Asia-Pacific region.
Speaking at the occasion the UNICEF representative for Bhutan, Rudolf Schwenk said that with participants from 28 countries in the Asia-Pacific region the third high level meeting in Malaysia was a wonderful opportunity to share the Bhutan experience and learn from other countries. There is ever more evidence on the importance of the first 1,000 days. And this evidence requires us to act.
“The Bhutan delegation made strong interventions and commitments to address violence against children. And we are very proud that the Bhutanese youth are also excelling in the in the innovation challenge” he added.