“In the long-standing debate over the proper place for civil society in the United Nations, I think we can all agree that the work for children is one area where the role of NGOs is beyond question,” Mr. Annan told representatives of these organizations attending the General Assembly’s special session on children, which opened today in New York. The Secretary-General welcomed the fact that so many young people were actively involved in the special session. “Never before have so many children participated in United Nations activities or have addressed the General Assembly,” he observed. “Never before have so many young people taken such an energetic part in so many roundtables and other supporting events.” Noting that the session is expected to culminate in the adoption of an outcome document, “A World Fit for Children,” Mr. Annan said NGOs would have “an especially crucial” role to play in translating the text’s promises into reality. “Just as you have been so active in promoting the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, we will look to you to act as watchdogs and monitor progress in implementing the promises that have been made at this session,” he said, adding, “Do keep us on our toes.”

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