December 20, 2016

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UNICEF urges parties to make child-focused policy platforms

UNICEF Myanmar is urging political parties to put children at the forefront of their policies, saying more than a quarter of people recently polled rated national development as their major concern for the upcoming general election.—Photo: Provided by UNICEF Myanmar
UNICEF Myanmar is urging political parties to put children at the forefront of their policies, saying more than a quarter of people recently polled rated national development as their major concern for the upcoming general election.—Photo: Provided by UNICEF Myanmar

UNICEF Myanmar urged all of the country’s political parties Saturday to put children at the centre of their policy platforms for the 8 November general election.
“Children do not vote but their families do,” said Bertrand Bainvel, UNICEF’s Chief Representative to Myanmar, calling on parties contesting the election to make new commitments for children.
Mr Bainvel said a “6 percent increase in the share of the government’s budget—from 9 percent to 15 percent—dedicated to education, health and social welfare” would improve the prospects of  “millions of Myanmar children.”
“I would like to urge parties to prioritize the critically important first 1,000 days in the life of a child, to achieve universal free and compulsory education by 2020, to expand social welfare and social interventions and to build a social protection system for children,” he said.
Referring to 2014 census data, UNICEF Myanmar said children were overrepresented in the poorest section of the population, with 4.4 million children aged 5 to 18 out of school and 10 million living in poverty.
UNICEF and the NGO Child Rights Working Group (NCRWG) are working together to secure commitments from political parties to increase social spending for children should they get elected, and to provide an opportunity for them to raise their concerns with candidates.

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