This weekend President Bush will join more than 70 world leaders at the United Nations for a summit on children -- in other words, a summit on the future. Nothing is a better indicator of the prospects for generations to come than the welfare of those people whose lives on Earth will extend farthest into that future. But unless the burst of attention to children's issues results in policy changes, the summit will be little better than a photo opportunity for politicians to surround themselves with winsome young faces.
The opportunities for positive change are abundant. James P Grant, executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), never tires of pointing out how many improvements in children's lives could easily happen if governments could only summon the political will to get them done. That's why he is calling the 1990s the "decade of doing the doable."
In one of the saddest ironies for children and families in poo
countries, the American obsession with abortion politics has put a stop to U.S. assistance to international family planning programs. The result is higher mortality rates for mothers and children and, as detailed on the Other Voices page today, a tragic increase in abandonment of children in many countries.