On Eve of G8, Children from all Over the World Make Urgent Plea to Leaders to Make Child Poverty History


Scottish First Minister, Jack McConnell, today joined young people from both the northern and southern hemispheres to hear their views and receive recommendations on what they think the G8 leaders need to do make child poverty history.

Joint UNICEF and Make Poverty History Press Release:

DUNBLANE, SCOTLAND, 5 July 2005 - Scottish First Minister, Jack McConnell, today joined young people from both the northern and southern hemispheres to hear their views and receive recommendations on what they think the G8 leaders need to do make child poverty history. On this, the eve of G8, the children made an urgent and united call on the G8 leaders to put children first when making their decisions at the G8.

Held at the culmination of UNICEF’s C8 children’s summit in Dunblane, Scotland, on July 5th, Make Poverty History Children’s Day has brought together children from some of the world’s poorest countries who have had direct experience of issues like HIV/AIDS, child labour, poor access to education, poverty and war. Meeting each other, sharing experiences and discussing these issues has given them a clear and shared understanding of what needs to be done.

These children are now taking the lead in having their voices and opinions heard. Together they are working to influence the decisions that the G8 leaders make at Gleneagles that will have a direct effect on their lives and the lives of other children around the world.
Hosting the event, young people from the UNICEF C8 summit laid out their recommendations following the three-day C8 children’s forum. Their manifesto included a call for immediate access to free, quality education for all children, action for children and young people affected by HIV/AIDS, immediate end to child poverty and exploitation.

“All G8 leaders have signed the Millennium Development Goals and we are here to remind them of their responsibilities, said Reitumetse, 13 year old C8 participant  from Lesotho. “If they fail to do this they will be failing the same children that the world is counting on to move their countries forward.”

The forum then opened up for other young people to report back on additional Global Call to Action Against Poverty activities. In support of the C8’s recommendations, sixteen year old Chikondi Chiweza from Malawi presented the findings of the PLAN International ‘Young People's Commission for Africa Report’ and said: “Months of discussion and debate has taken place amongst thousands of children across the African continent in order to produce the Young People's Commission for Africa Report’.  Looking at the challenges facing young people in Africa today the report - 'Speak Out' -highlights HIV/AIDS, education and poverty as three key issues we would like to see world leaders focus on in order to make the lives of young Africans better."

Echoing the recommendations of their peers, young people representing the Global Campaign for Education addressed the audience demanding that world leaders act on their promises to send all children to school. Fourteen year old Alfie Sadler said:  “100 million children are out of school and two thirds of them are girls. Education is one of the best ways out of poverty. G8 you can save lives and give every child a future by keeping your promise and getting every child into school. Please listen to what the five million children around the world who have taken part in the Send My Friend to School Challenge have asked you to do.”

The children, on the eve of G8, under the banner of Make Poverty History/GCAP united to call on the leaders to prioritise children in their discussions. What children need from wealthy nations at the G8 is justice - a package of debt reduction, aid flow and trade justice policies to help their communities prosper.

The reasons for change could not be more simple.  At stake is one preventable child death every three seconds, 20 each minute, 1,200 an hour; 29,000 a day. Day after day. Action is vital…

  • Because nearly 11million children die every year from preventable diseases
  • Because more than 100 million children are unable to go to school
  • Because there are fifteen million children orphaned by AIDS around the world
  • Because one billion children are living in poverty around the globe
  • Because we can’t accept this any longer
  • Because it doesn’t have to be like this.

For more information contact:
Sarah Epstein, UNICEF UK,, Tel:  + 44 (0) 7766 052 658
Kate Conway, Global Campaign for Education,, Tel: + 44 (0) 7967 223 114
Sandra Brobbey, Plan UK,, Tel: 020 7482 9554/ 07940 442 756

This is a Joint Press Release from UNICEF and Make Poverty History.  They are solely responsible for the contents of this release. It has not been reviewed by the Horizon Scientific Review Board.

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