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Unicef India focusing on four core child issues: top official

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Child issues concerning malnutrition, sanitation, protection and quality basic education are the prime focus areas currently for the Unicef in India, a top official of the UN body said here today.

"There are four areas that we are currently focusing on starting with malnutrition. There are about 47-48 per cent children in India, who are chronically malnourished, ie, stunted and suffering from cognitive impairment. So, this is one area we are deeply looking into," Representative UNICEF India Country Office Louis-Georges Arsenault said at an event.

The other issues that we are targeting as focus points are sanitation, child protection against early marriages and trafficking and quality basic education, Arsenault said.

The United Nations Children's Fund India official said this during the launch of its partnership with Honorary Consular Corps Diplomatique-India (HCCD), which today donated a sum of Rs 5 lakh to the global body for child rights for its work in the country.

HCCD was established in 1995 out of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and today's event saw participation from many honorary consuls of various countries, who "pledged their support", calling the "token donation sum", as "not big but a beginning".

Earlier, Arsenault also called the occasion as not "just about money but also about participation".

"We see this as the first step of our collaboration where these consuls of small countries and islands are coming together...And its a rare opportunity to work with this association (HCCD)," he said.

K S Bhalla, Honorary Consul General of Nauru and founder-member of HCCD, informed about the changing role of the association on the occasion.

"The current partnership of HCCD and Unicef is projected as 'consuls turn caring into action' but earlier we only worked on bilateral and trade issues, tourism and cultural relations of the countries and citizens' rights. But, only a few years ago we added charity to our policies too," Bhalla told PTI later.

"The strength of HCCD-India is about 67 nations, certain countries have Honorary Consul Generals appointed in India as the heads of missions, and many countries to assist embassies have appointed Honorary Consuls in the various cities like Mumbai, Goa, Chennai, Kolkata and Bangalore," Honorary Consul General of Montenegro Janice Durbari said.

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First Published: Fri, August 16 2013. 16:55 IST