MEDELLIN, Colombia -- The assistant secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), Ambassador Albert Ramdin, has called on governments, international organizations, the private sector and non-governmental organizations to “recognize the value of investing more in the children of the Hemisphere.”
Organization of American States (OAS) Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin
Ramdin made the call as he opened the 88th regular session of the Directing Council of the Inter-American Children’s Institute, in Medellin, Colombia, on Monday. The Inter-American Children’s Institute is a specialized organ of the OAS, which seeks to assist governments in their efforts to design national protection systems for the promotion of the rights of children.
According to the OAS official, while progress has been made in the reduction of mortality, malnutrition and poverty rates in this Hemisphere, an estimated 81 million children still live and are raised in poverty, with 32 million listed as living in extreme poverty.
“The issues facing our children remain and, in some cases, have become more complex. From poverty to challenges in nutrition and health, child trafficking, protection and defense, we must work harder. Our efforts must not wane, especially in a region where, in many countries, over half the total population is under the age of 18,” said Ramdin.
The OAS assistant secretary general also called for stronger public policies to create and provide opportunities for children. "Working together, parents, teachers, and mentors can encourage the creative potential of this generation and provide an environment where our children can thrive and learn the skills needed to become responsible citizens."
The 88th Regular Session of the Inter-American Children’s Institute was hosted by the Instituto de Bienestar Familiar (ICBF) of the Colombian government and inaugurated by the president of the Directing Council, Gloria Lozano Diaz, who applauded the commitment of the OAS and the presence of the assistant secretary general.
This year, delegates are focusing their deliberations on three areas: natural disasters and the impact on children; alternative penal responsibilities, and early childhood education. The outcome of this meeting will factor into the preparations for 21st Pan American Children’s Congress, scheduled to take place in Brazil.