As part of the week of commemorations in Brazil through Friday in honor of the 59th anniversary of the United Nations, the Bloc of the Millenium will be inaugurated.
Senators Eduardo Suplicy, Cristovam Buarque, Eduardo Azeredo, Romero Jucá, and Patrícia Gomes are leading the process to form this group, whose goal will be to publicize in Brazil the Goals of the Millenium.
They are eight commitments approved by the 191 United Nations member countries during the Millenium Summit, held in New York in September, 2000.
The Goals of the Millenium inclue elimination of hunger and extreme poverty; quality basic education for all; gender equality and protection of women’s rights and reduction of infant mortality.
They also envision improved health care for pregnant women; actions to combat Aids, malaria, and other diseases; environmental sustainability; and a global partnership for development.
The group’s program also includes debates on the relationship between the development goals of the millenium, food security, and gender equality.
In order to improve living conditions for the 10.9 million children and adolescents who inhabit the semi-arid region of Brazil, the governors of the states that make up the region and representatives of non-governmental organizations assembled in June, in Brasília, to sign the “National Pact: A World for the Children and Adolescents of the Semi-Arid Region.”
The Semi-Arid Region contains over 1,400 municipalities and currently displays the worst social indicators in Brazil.
This conclusion is drawn from the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) report, “Children and Adolescents in the Brazilian Semi-Arid Region, 2003,” which reveals aspects of the conditions of life and survival in the region.
According to the study, infant mortality in the Semi-Arid Region is higher than the national average in 95% of the cities in the region.
Approximately 33.8% of the deaths of children under a year old are caused by diseases that could be avoided and are largely due to these children’s nutritional deficiencies.
In relation to education, the study shows that 350 thousand children and adolescents between 10 and 14 don’t attend school, over 390 thousand (43%) are illiterate, and one in every six children between 10 and 15 works.
The Special Secretary of Human Rights, Nilmário Miranda, affirmed that one of the activities envisioned in the pact is the campaign against child labor. “For us, all child labor is intolerable,” he declared.
The national pact on behalf of children and adolescents in the Semi-Arid Region will help Brazil fulfill the Development Objectives of the Millenium.
“This pact should integrate the activities of governments, civil society, and private firms, to guarantee the right to quality education, health, culture, protection, sports, and leisure for all children and adolescents who live in the semi-arid region,” explained the UNICEF representative in Brazil, Reiko Niimi.
Translator: David Silberstein