THIRD EAST ASIA & PACIFIC REGIONAL CHILDREN & YOUNG PEOPLES FORUM 2002

MALAYSIAN DELEGATION – TEAM REPORT

( Lead by Khairul Azri Sabri)


Objective of Forum : 

·        Discuss concrete actions to follow-up / input into the individual NPAs and follow-up at national and local levels.

·        Report on the result of the SSoC and discuss the final World Fit for Children outcome document in comparison to the World Fit for Us document by the children at UNGASS.

·        Report on the current situation in each country and on the country action plans made in Vientiane, Lao PDR.

·        Reflect on the progress of the National Action Plans and / or action / results in children’s policies and programs outlined in the 5th Ministerial Consultation and in the SSoC.

·        Plan and strategise follow-up action, including monitoring and evaluation suggestions.

·        Identify regional support necessary to carry out the plan / strategies.

·        Skills training on advocacy and leadership skills for the forum participants. 

Forum Details : 

·        The Forum was attended by children and young people delegates from 15 countries in the East Asia and Pacific region representing both Government and NGO organizations.  They were from Cambodia, China, East Timor, Fiji Islands, Indonesia, Japan, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Republic of South Korea, Thailand, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Vietnam. 

·        There were a total of 49 children and young people who participated in various workshops in the time span of five days.  The Forum was conducted daily from 8.30 am to about 6.00 pm. 

·        The Forum took place at the Angels’ Haven building in Seoul, 30 minutes away from the Yonsei University guesthouse where the participants were staying.  Most forum discussions were held in an indoor gym area that had been set-up for the forum.  Computer and internet access was also made available.

FORUM ACTIVITIES 

UNGASS Report 1 : 

The report presented by Head Facilitator Lakan Bunyi, brought into focus the recent history and progress of the world with regards to children’s issues.

 

·        The first Preparatory Committee meeting (PREPCOM 1) took place in New York in May 2000 and discussed about plans for children in the next ten years to come.  This was because the previous World Summit for Children plan drafted in 1990 had come to an end by the year 2000.  However, some goals in the World Summit for Children had not been accomplished.  Therefore, the World Fit for Children plan was drafted for the first time to strategise plans for children in the next decade.

·        The second PREPCOM took place in January 2001 to discuss the initial draft of the World Fit For Children document from PREPCOM 1.

·        The East Asia and Pacific Regional Planning began in February of 2001 in Bangkok and started discussing more specifically the regional plan for children in the next ten years.  These discussions also paved the way for the drafting of the Beijing Declaration.  Further planning at national and sub-national levels took place where all countries made effort for national consultations and selected delegates to the first EAP CYP forum in Jomtien, Thailand.

·        The first Children and Young Peoples Forum in Jomtien talked about the situation of children in the East Asia and Pacific region and discussed if Governments have fulfilled their promises with regards to the World Fit For Children document.  The participants of this Forum drafted the Jomtien Declaration.  They also planned and elected representatives for the Ministerial Consultation in Beijing, China.

·        The Beijing Ministerial Consultation was aimed at finding out what Governments have been doing in line with the World Fit For Children document.  This meeting managed to finalize the Beijing Declaration, which adapted the whole of the Jomtien Declaration by the children.

·        The third PREPCOM that took place in June 2001 talked and debated every point in the World Fit For Children document.

·        The second Children and Young Peoples Forum in Vientiane, Lao PDR reported to the children on what had been happening during the previous Forum and PREPCOMs.  This Forum drew up the guidelines for children to attend the UNGASSoC in New York.

·        The United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Children took place at the United Nations HQ in May 2002.  This was the first time that a United Nations General Assembly involved the active participation of children from around the world to discuss and plan for the next decade.  The children produced a document called A World Fit for Us that lists down the issues raised by children and the recommended plan of actions.

·        The third Children and Young Peoples Forum, which was being conducted at the time, was intended to report on the accomplishments of the East Asia and Pacific countries and to translate the worldwide plan into more specific regional and national plans.

·        Based on the agreement regarding the World Fit For Children document coupled with the World Fit For Us document, each country is to submit their new National Plan of Action by the end of 2003.

 

UNGASS Report 2 :  Analyzing the differences and similarities between the World Fit For Children (WFFC) and the World Fit For Us (WFFS)

 It was noted that the WFFC is the basis for the construction of the various National Plans of Action while the WFFU contains the real dreams, hopes and visions of children from around the world.  Therefore, in order for the WFFC plan to be implemented effectively, it has to answer the issues in the WFFU document.  A discussion whether the WFFC can support the WFFU was carried out. 

The issues covered by both (in comparison with WFFU) : 

1.            Respect for the rights of the child.

2.         End to exploitation, abuse and violence.

3.         End to war :

            -  WFFC does not address disarmament.

-        WFFC stated that they were going to help war victims but did not approach the subject of equal opportunities for war victims.

4.            Provision of health care :

            -  WFFC  does not address accessibility and affordability of life saving drugs.

5.            Eradication of HIV / AIDS.

6.            Provision of education :

-      WFFC only pushes for education at minimal costs while WFFU pushes for free and compulsory education.

7.         Active participation of children :

-      WFFC plans to involve children only in decision-making not in implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

8.         WFFC does not mention the protection of the environment and an end to the vicious cycle of poverty. 

 

UNGASS Report 3 :  The sharing of Experiences by Delegates 

11 delegates from 10 countries (Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam) who attended the Children’s Conference in New York prior to the UNGASSoC went up to share their experiences with the other delegates.  At first each delegate gave a long account of what happened but as it was time consuming, the style was changed to that of an interview where specific questions were asked and various delegates answered. 

The delegates shared personal experience and opinions regarding the international event that took place and how effective it truly was.  The rest of the crowd was briefed on how information was collected from various countries in different thematic groups and finally compiled into a single document to be forwarded to the United Nations General Assembly knows as the “World Fit For Us” document, solely by the children participants. 

Workshop 1 :

A country update was prepared with reference to the Malaysian NPA, WFFC, Beijing Declaration and some guide questions.  The follow-up activities to UNGASS undertaken in Malaysia by the Government, the NGOs and civil society, the international NGOs as well as the children’s organizations and the children themselves were put down on charts according to the similarities and differences, accomplishments, follow-up activities and the enabling / disabling factors.  When all countries had finished, the charts were put up and delegates were told to view / study the charts of other countries while appointing at least one delegate per country to stay with their own chart to explain what had been put down.  The purpose of the “round the world gallery viewing” was to share and learn from the various countries in order to implement certain activities that were successful in other countries than our own. 

Workshop 2 : 

With reference to workshop 1, all the delegates made a critical analysis.  Similar follow-up activities and enabling / disabling factors were identified and grouped. 

The follow-up activities were : 

1.         Media advocacy

·        Participation of youth in media (young journalists, hosts, producers, etc).

·        Photovoice project.

A project involving street children in Vietnam.  The children are trained to take pictures and these pictures are showcased in galleries around the world and sold to raise funds for the street children.

·        Coverage of CRC by the media (radio, television, newspaper, etc).

·        Have an International Children’s Broadcast Day annually. 

2.         Laws

·        New implementation of laws regarding CRC.

·        National legal system for children.

·        Police to be trained in CRC and carry CRC booklets / pamphlets with them. 

3.         Training

·        Training and campaigns carried out by GOs and NGOs.

·        Training of Government officials on CRC. 

4.         NPA

·        Draft new NPAs or revise old ones.

·        Government, NGOs and children should start to come together to work and plan.

5.            Campaigns

·        Child advocacy.

·        Say yes for children campaign.

·        Creative arts / material to create awareness (theater, performances, etc).

·        Competitions on CRC. 

6.         Specific conferences

·        National conferences, consultations.

·        Empower the girl child conference.

·        HIV / AIDS. 

7.            Children participation

·        Child parliaments.

·        Child organizations. 

8.            Education

·        CRC implemented in school curriculum (China, Mongolia, East Timor).

·        Establish child friendly schools, hospitals, etc.

·        Awards for child friendly cities / towns / states, etc (based on egg. reduction of child abuse cases.). 

9.            Resources

·        INGOs giving money and expertise and logistics.

·        GOs being supportive. 

Enabling Factors : 

·        Supportive and active NGOs and INGOs.

·        Supportive laws and regulations.

·        Active participation.

·        Collaboration between the community and the Government.

·        Easy access to information (internet, etc).

·        Educated population.

·        Good social facilities have been / are being built to improve participation.

·        Children are more aware. 

Disabling Factors : 

·        Traditional culture.

·        Parents and teachers lack awareness on CRC.

·        CRC is seen as a western idea.

·        Lack of community support.

·        Lack of resources.

·        Remote / rural areas.

·        Inaccuracy in reports by the media.

·        Social problems.

·        Rural-urban differences.

·        Brain drain (experts on CRC migrate to other countries).

CAPACITY BUILDING TRAINING

A training session was held at the end of the forum with the intention of preparing the delegates with proper leadership and organizational skills so that they can effectively carry out their work upon return to their motherland.  Delegates were given the choice to participate in either of the two main training sessions which were leadership training and advocacy training. 

The leadership workshop was definitely, by far, the most appealing to most of the youngsters.  Important points of leadership were conveyed to the participants in a very fun and exciting way. 

First there was the Basketball game, where each group lined up and started passing the ball around until the facilitator tells them to shoot or dunk.  The person who acts as the hoop often runs the risk of getting beaned in the head or getting body slammed by an over-enthusiastic team member during dunks.  This activity was all about teamwork and trust. 

Next, each group had to ‘write’ a symbol on the back of the member in front of them.  The symbol, which was given to the person at the back would then be ‘written on’ the back of the person in front until the person at the very front gets the symbol and writes it on the board, the group which was most accurate won. 

Also, there was a ‘story-telling’ session where the facilitator would act out a story (no words mind you) to another person and that person would have to act the same story out to another person and so on until the very last person who would then have to retell the story in words.  We all had a good laugh when the original story, the cow, somehow in the words of the last person turned into a car.  This activity was all about good communication. 

Then there was the ‘Tower of Babel’ where groups had to build a tower using mahjong papers and anything on their body.  This activity focused on teamwork and co-operation. 

The participants were also taught different styles of leadership, namely top-down, down-top, TOP & DOWN = what we are pushing for in terms of CP. 

Simultaneously, the training session on advocacy was going on in the main hall.  To get a better depth in understanding on the subject matter, the group started off by identifying words in their native tongue, similar to that of the English word “advocacy”.  Many brought up words which carry the meaning of representation and support. 

We were then tested on how we should build a strong foundation or organization to advocate for a certain issue.  Separated into two groups, each member had to cross from one end of the hall to the other by stepping on a limited supply of A4 paper laid across the floor at our disposal.  The task proved to be impossible because the resources that we had (paper) was too scarce and could not get everyone across.  The simple solution however, was for the groups to share their resources and create a more definite path across. 

After that, participants of this forum elected a core group of five to work on a special resolution to be used as the outcome document from this forum.  This declaration took into account the need for children participation in all local, national and international events where their voices are truly heard and taken into consideration for the conclusion.  After an hour or two of discussions, the core group finally presented their draft to the rest of Forum 3’s participants to acquire feedback on any issues regarded in the draft. 

FIELD VISITS

Participants of the Forum were also given the opportunity to go out and do some research on the development of child-related activities in Seoul.  This half-day affair allowed us to do hands-on analysis on how these activities persist. 

We visited the centers of Angel’s Haven that included a school for disabled children and a rehabilitation center.  The special school that houses 25 classrooms in total serves as a learning center, similar to that of a regular public school.  This Government aided school aims at giving special emphasis on education among mentally challenged children whilst teaching them basic practical skills or living skills such as how to take a bus or how to cook.  Any remainder of the expenses like food is paid for by the homes from which the child had come from. 

The Seoul Rehabilitation Center established in 1981 aims at increasing social awareness about people with disabilities.  Among the community programs that help this cause is their effort to go out and provide elderly people a bath twice a month.  The Government fund most facilities here that is planned at teaching social skills and vocational skills among the disabled. 

We also had the chance to observe how active children participation was in Seoul.  Among the centers that we visited regarding this matter was the SSRO media center for children and youths. 

Upon arriving to SSRO in the heart of Seoul, the design of the building itself seemed to scream ‘I’m unique!’.  The inside of the building was painted orange and white, very striking colours indeed.  Upon entering, one is greeted by the rows of computers sitting in the left corner of the room.  It’s not unusual to see teenagers hanging out here, what with the free internet access and all. 

To the right of the room is a snack corner and a comics corner where teens can, well, read comics and … snack… obviously. 

The staircases are lined with various framed illustration by the youth which are regulars at the center.  On the first floor, one may be able to see the classrooms and offices whereas on the second floor are the meeting rooms and studio. 

SSRO provides broadcasting and production training for youth who are interested.  They do this for no fee at all.  The center is fully funded by the Seoul Metropolitan Council.  Really says a lot about the commitment and effort the Government is doing to create a child-friendly community, doesn’t it? 

Towards the end of the tour, the children from the 3rd National East-Asian Pacific Regional Forum got to make a video of them expressing their opinions on what a world fit for children should be like. 

On the final day, we were able to unwind and review what we have done for the past five days.  We packed up our belongings at Yonsei as we were moving to the Seoul Women’s Plaza to spend our final night in Korea.  There, we had our closing ceremony in which the delegates had the opportunity to voice out their feelings on the forum and thank the organizers and facilitators who have helped us through it.  Delegate representatives forwarded speeches and souvenirs of thanks to all who were involved.  The night continued with an array of cultural performances by the under-18 delegates.  Being children, we never forget to have fun.  True enough, at only about half past twelve did we return from a ‘clubbing’ session in the same hall. 

Delegates left on different days because of flight availability.  We said our goodbyes and promised that we’d keep in touch.

 

The Forum lasted five days and proved to be exciting and beneficial to all who participated.  Now the under-18 delegates are entrusted to return home and carry on the message of children’s rights and to fight for substantial children participation wherever relevant. 

We are truly very thankful to have been given this wonderful opportunity to convene from different corners of the East Asia and pacific region to share information and pitch in ideas on how to maintain a society in which children are justly heard. 

We deeply appreciate the warmth and compassion by our fellow Korean hosts who have gone beyond their assigned duties to ensure our comfortable stay during the Forum.  The Forum was able to proceed positively as a result of the support from the co-ordinators and sponsors of the forum who would come in regularly to oversee our progress. 

We feel indebted to our wonderful chaperons for all their sacrifices and hard work in making sure everything falls into order.  We thank them for putting up with all the fuss and commotion from the delegates themselves. 

 

Thank you.