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Special Session of UN General Assembly Opens - 2002-05-08

Today marks a first for the United Nations -- the opening of the first ever special session of the UN General Assembly devoted to children.

The delegates include seventy-three heads of state, including many from Africa, along with other government leaders and representatives of most official organizations that work for the welfare of children. Topics include children’s access to health and education; child abuse, including the sexual abuse of girls; children orphaned by AIDS; and children in armed conflict. Many of the subjects are holdovers from the 1990 World Summit for Children – reducing maternal and infant mortality, access to clean water and sanitation, and primary education for all children.

English to Africa reporter Cole Mallard interviewed UNICEF director Carol Bellamy on the importance of the session to Africa. She compares this meeting with the 1990 summit and says this special session will conclude with a global plan of action.