A bil­lion brains: Smarter chil­dren, health­ier eco­nom­ics

Bhutan Times - - Front Page - Sonam Wangmo

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.

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