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CARICOM focuses on a Region fit for Children

Greater Georgetown, Guyana – Against the background of mounting concerns about the plight and prospects of the Region’s children, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) is devoting its Twelfth Special Conference to issues related to children.

Set to take place on March 17-19 at the Guyana International Conference Centre, under the theme: Building a Region Fit for Children, the Twelfth Special COHSOD on Children will examine the rights of children and current status of violence against children; discuss interventions to improve the environment in which children live and grow; and identify policies and programs that help to promote the social and economic well-being of children and enhance their capabilities

Under the chairmanship of Belize, the Special COHSOD will also consider a program for children overall but particularly those in shelters, schools and communities and those affected by emergencies occasioned by natural disasters and the increasing effects of climate change, crime and violence poverty and the resurgence of diseases such as malaria, dengue, leptospirosis and emerging threats like bird flu.

The COHSOD will specifically review strategies to deal with vulnerable children; prevention of child abuse; sexual exploitation and family separation; and discuss the potential impacts of displacement factors such as enforced migration on children.

It will also make the case for a Comprehensive Child Legislative Framework and efficient implementing mechanisms for greater protection of children. The key issues include the provision of the legal model tools with guidelines/ programs/ practices (including prevention strategies) for harmonization, endorsement, adoption and implementation by the CARICOM Member States.

The three day meeting will attract a wide cross section of participants including Ministers of Government from CARICOM Countries and representatives from regional and international institutions. It is organized around keynote addresses, panel discussions, plenary sessions and special presentations by children.

A major feature of the Meeting will be the opportunity provided for children to present in innovative ways, their views on issues affecting them, using new media and information and communication technologies. Child journalists under the guidance of young adult reporters, will assist in providing coverage for the first one and a half days of the COHSOD and then report back to the delegates during the afternoon of the second day using the format of a children TV news bulletin which could also be made available to media houses across the CARICOM Member States for broadcasting.

A special feature of the closing ceremony will be a Declaration on Building a Region Fit for Children.

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