Some of the major challenges before my country today include the geographical severity, diseconomies of scale due to the scattered nature of the population, strains on the family unit due to the erosion of the traditional culture, the high incidence of divorce and rapid urbanization. In addition, the breaking up of families adversely effects the social and psychological development as well as the well being of children and women.
Despite such challenges, we have success stories to tell and positive trends to report in the area of protecting child rights. In our quest for a better future, we have proclaimed a National Vision 2020 in which we have envisaged to educate every child, to provide environments that foster self-confidence and self esteem, to cater for the needs of children with disabilities and to prevent all forms of child abuse. Furthermore. our 6th National Development Plan, reinforces this vision, by planning to review the existing laws on the protection of children and to strengthen enforcement measures. Preparations are underway for establishing appropriate legal and judicial frameworks to deal with children’s issues. By the same token, we have begun to assess the situation of children to identify and target services for vulnerable groups. The creation of an institutional mechanism for providing alternative family care is underway. The emerging issue of adolescent health and well-being will be addressed as a prioriy in the coming years.
We in the Maldives believe that investing in children and generating opportunities for them is the only way to ensure a healthier, wealthier and a happier future for our country. To that end, we are encouraging greater initiative and participation by the private sector and the civil society actors. …”
Recap: Blast from Commitments in the Past
The Minister of Women’s Affairs and Social Security, Republic of Maldives; speaking at the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Children, 8-10 May 2002, New York; said,