Article | Last updated: 2008-09-29 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The rights and well-being of children and young people have always occupied a central place in Norway’s development cooperation. This is particularly true for priority areas within education and health.
The rights and well-being of children and young people have always occupied a central place in Norway’s development cooperation. This is particularly true for priority areas within education and health. But the focus on children and young people extends much further. Intensifying Norwegian efforts to combat poverty and promoting equitable distribution and a more democratic world order, both globally and regionally, are overriding foreign policy and development policy objectives. The Government’s support of the ambition set out in the Millennium Development Goals to halve extreme poverty by 2015 is key in this respect.
In 2005, the previous Government launched Norway’s development strategy for children and young people in the South. This strategy is a guide for action in bilateral, regional and global efforts, and it is based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Convention emphasises that all children have fundamental rights to survival, development, protection and participation. The strategy is also based on the priorities set at the UN Special Session on Children in 2002, and on the objectives defined in the UN’s Millennium Declaration. The Millennium Development Goals are also goals for children.
Norwegian development assistance priorities are based on the following important goals, which were set at the UN Millennium Summit and are to be achieved by 2015:
- Reduce child mortality by two thirds
- Reduce maternal mortality by three quarters
- Secure general access to safe drinking water and sanitation services
- Ensure basic education for all
- Reduce adult illiteracy, particularly among women
- Protect children in especially difficult circumstances.
Norway’s development strategy for children and young people in the South is a reference document for Norwegian efforts up to 2015, and for cooperation with other actors, both nationally and internationally. The strategy aims to promote the rights and improve the living conditions of children and young people in poor countries through Norwegian development cooperation, and to stress that targeting children and young people is crucial for combating poverty and promoting human development.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ efforts in this area are coordinated by a special ambassador for matters relating to children and young people. Great emphasis is placed on cooperation with experts and NGOs, both in Norway and abroad.