World Children’s Day 2021
Opening Remarks by Pauline Tamesis, the UN Resident Coordinator in Cambodia
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Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is an honour to celebrate World Children’s Day with you all.
I was introduced to you as the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Cambodia.
But I am also a mother of two teenage boys, my eldest son who is 19 years old and a sophomore in university in Philadephia, and my youngest son who is 17 and is a senior in high school here in Phnom Penh.
Nothing fulfills me more than learning about what excites them about the future.
And when I was given the opportunity to hear about YOUR hopes and aspirations for the future, I immediately said “yes” to Foroogh, the UNICEF Representative in Cambodia.
For me, today’s celebration with young people is a day of inspiration and hope.
Especially at a time when children and young people bear the brunt of the COVID pandemic.
Reflecting on World Children’s Day, we all recognize how YOU our children, have inherited problems YOU didn’t create. Global warming. Poverty. Inequality. Social injustice. And how all of these problems impact your present and future: unsafe spaces, stigma and mental health; lost learning and despair.
But times of crisis can also bring out the best in us and show what is possible when we work together. When we focus on the future, when we take actions NOW to solve problems together, in solidarity with the world’s young people and future generations.
As the leader of the UN in Cambodia, I am committed to enable young people to take action and give as many of YOU the tools to meet your challenges.
One of these tools is the Generation Future initiative. Generation Future builds an ecosystem to nurture the bright ideas of young people. We need more initiatives like this, opening opportunities and providing support to as many young people.
For the United Nations, it is critical that we make progress on Sustainable Development Goals – in education, health, mental health, equality and climate change. These are all important building blocks to create a bright future for young people.
Gaps however remain. We need to bridge the gaps in
- One, financial Literacy
- Two, digital literacy and infrastructure. The pandemic showed us how young Cambodians barely coped with distance learning.
- Three, environmental education and action
- Four, the gender gap in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math)
- Five, soft skills for Industry 4.0, and most especially capacity for critical thinking
Innovation programmes like Generation Future empower young people to build a brighter future.
The UN family in Cambodia is united in the commitment to work hand in hand with the Cambodian people to fulfill their aspirations, for the common future of present and next generations. For a healthier, greener and more peaceful future, fulfilling human rights for all.
We offer this as a shared vision of hope for children and young people for the future. You all need to be engaged in shaping the future YOU want. We can achieve this through representation in decision making. Together, You can shape the future you want by transforming education, skills training and lifelong learning.
We are all Generation Future.
All children and young people can act and make a difference.
All adults can support You.
Together, there is no limit to what we can achieve.