Let me thank the two special rapporteurs for their comprehensive reports.
The Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health Anand Grover stresses that occupational health is an integral component of the right to health. Norway welcomes this approach and would like to underline that occupational health and the ILO agenda on decent work mutually reinforces each other.
We further welcome the attention given to well-functioning surveillance systems in order to understand workers’ health risks. Similar to the realisation of the right to health for other citizens, the monitoring of key indicators and benchmarks must play an integral role in the review of occupational health legislation and policy.
Finally, Norway appreciates the Special Rapporteur’s recommendation of using a gender-based approach as women are particularly vulnerable to negative health impacts from working conditions.
We would also like to comment on the excellent report presented by the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education Kishore Singh.
Norway welcomes the Rapporteur’s focus on the quality of education and the importance of ensuring that children are not only enrolled in school, but remain there and actually learn basic reading, writing and math skills, among other things.. We also share his specific concern regarding children in conflict affected areas, where almost half of the out-of-school children can be found.
The report highlights a number of important issues in need of attention. Specific challenges related to achieving quality education in emergencies, the importance of implementing the INEE Minimum Standards, the need to recruit and qualify more teachers and the importance of quality education for women’s empowerment are among the issues highlighted in the report.
We further recognise the importance of normative frameworks and of having quality measures included in national laws and policies. Progress in this regard is reflected in the report, but challenges remain with regard to the implementation. The report lists some recommendations on how laws and standards could be followed up and we would appreciate further elaboration on how we can work both on a national and international level to ensure better implementation of norms and standards in this area.
We are particularly interested in knowing if the Special Rapporteur has ideas on how to promote the normative frameworks in conflict affected and fragile states, which are least likely to reach the Education-for-all-goals and where governments often are in a weak position to enforce laws and policies. How can UN agencies play a more prominent role in this?
Finally, regarding the part of the report dealing with the physical environment, we would appreciate further elaboration of the concept of safer school constructions and disaster risk reduction. In some recent disasters we have seen children being killed while in school, which of course is completely unacceptable.
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