Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Gov’t, UNICEF CPC review kicks off

The government of The Gambia and the United Nations International Children Fund (UNICEF), yesterday began a two-day mid-term review on Country Programme of Cooperation 2007-2011, at the Kairaba Beach Hotel in Kololi.

The programme seeks to provide avenues for children and women to acquire adequate capacities and appropriate skills, knowledge, and means to claim their rights and as well achieve an enabling environment through child and gender-sensitive policies, programmes and legislation, supported by evidence-based data analysis and advocacy. The programme also promotes gender equality and encourages young people’s participation through community capacity development, with three main areas of focus: child survival and development, basic education, and child protection and social policy advocacy.

Fatou Lamin Faye, minister of Basic and Secondary Education who made a statement on behalf of the vice president and minister of Women’s Affairs, Dr Aja Isatou Njie-Saidy, recalled launching this programme in 2007 on behalf of the Gambian leader, Sheikh Professor Jammeh. “As a government, we are proud of the ownership and pleased with the good leadership we have demonstrated throughout the implementation of the programme and the planning of the Global Mid-Term review meeting. Our collaboration with UNICEF is no accident as the government of The Gambia is equally and fully committed to fulfilling the rights of children and women,” she said.

Minister Faye further explained that the government’s resolve in this regard was demonstrated by signing and ratifying of many international conventions and treaties including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the two optional protocols to the UNCRC, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). She also spoke at length on the commitment of the government in various sectors; ranging from education, health among others. Minister Faye also reported that the government had submitted the combined 1st, 2nd and 3rd periodic reports on the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), in January and has adopted and ratified the two optional protocols to the CRC in 2008.

For his part, Dr Njogu Bah, secretary to the Cabinet, who deputised for the secretary general and head of Civil Service, Abdoulie Sallah, assured the audience that under the leadership of Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh, the government would continue to consolidate the gains of the enabling environment already created so as to enhance the scope and space for increased partnership with UNICEF and other partners assisting their processes and systems geared towards socio-economic growth and development. “My office finds the report rich in its analysis, independent in its assessment, and already provocative of the areas where adjustments are imminent not only to help us achieve better and rewarding outcomes in the remaining half of the programme cycle, but also to prepare the next Country Programme that succeeds the current one in 2011,” he asserted.

“I would like to urge all the implementing partners to be more resolute in their commitment to the Country Programme. We should commit ourselves to meeting and even surpassing the targets that we set for ourselves and encourage dialogue on every emerging issue that show up on our way. This way, we would be remembered as people who have utilized their productive energies in translating the resources put at the disposal of women and children in The Gambia into concrete, promising, socially-friendly, progressive and beneficial economic outcomes. The urgency for strengthened commitment to meeting this objectives is applicable to UNICEF as it is to the implementing partners,” Dr Bah further explained.

Dr Gianfranco Rotigliano, UNICEF, regional director for West and Central Africa also spoke at the opening ceremony which was graced by ministers of Health, Social Welfare, Dr Mariatou Jallow; attorney general and minister for Justice, Marie Saine-Firdaus; and a representative of the speaker of the National Assembly, amongst other dignitaries.

source: dailyobserver

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