Last year we adopted the Agenda for the years to come. Agenda 2030. One year has passed and now it is high time to start implementing it, to make sure that no one is left behind.
There is not a separate goal on children, but children's rights constitute an integral part of many of the goals and targets. Let me for example mention goal 4 on ensuring inclusive and quality education for all, 5.3 on the elimination of all harmful practices and 16.2 on ending all forms of violence against children.
The right to education, and in particular girls right to education, is a core priority for the Norwegian government. In the period 2013-2017, the Norwegian Government is doubling its aid to education.
The reason is simple. Education is not only important for individual development and for the child's ability to reach its fullest potential. It is a catalyst for job creation, economic growth, healthier lives and gender equality. Education is a prerequisite for sustainable development and poverty eradication.
It also has major positive side effects. The likelihood of trafficking in children, child labor, child, early and forced marriage, sexual exploitation, female genital mutilation and other harmful practices, is far less when children go to school.
Since 2000, there has been great progress in getting more girls in primary school. However, far too many girls do not complete secondary education. We need to change this situation.
The right to education is just as important in time of conflict and crises as in peacetime. Perhaps even more so. Armed conflict adversely affects the development of the child, especially if the child cannot pursue its right to go to school. Military use and attacks on schools are increasing. We believe that the Safe School Declaration is an important and practical tool to reduce this growing problem. We therefore urge all States to endorse the Declaration.
Female genital mutilation is a harmful and unacceptable practice. Child-, early, and forced marriage deprive the girls of their childhood and full participation in society. Far too often, we witness that the same girls that are subject to these harmful practices are also subject to sexual abuse and other forms of violence.
Norway is deeply concerned about the pervasiveness of violence against children in all its different forms and manifestations worldwide. We fully support our common goal to end all violence against children by 2030.
The Norwegian Government will present an escalation plan for combating violence against children this fall. It will address how to prevent and detect violence, offer timely treatment and improve the coordination of various public entities.
We know that violence is still being used in the upbringing of children in many countries. Norway would like to take this opportunity to encourage other countries to ban corporal punishment of children.
We would like to stress our appreciation of the work of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children for her leadership in the report: Protecting Children from Bullying. We also thank her for her willingness to take on the initial coordination of the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty. We urge States to continue to support this study.
We also support the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict in her tireless efforts for the millions of children that are living in countries affected by armed conflict.
We cannot rest until every child is secured a childhood free from fear and violence, and that the rights of all children are fully respected.