The Fourth Global Forum on Children Affected by HIV and AIDS, co-hosted in Dublin by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Irish Aid, the Irish Government’s overseas aid programme, called for a package of social welfare services to tackle child poverty and the effects of HIV/AIDS on children in developing countries. “For too long children have been the missing face of the aids pandemic,” UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman told the 200 delegates from 42 countries. “This conference, generously co-hosted by the Irish Government, provides an important opportunity to discuss approaches for dealing with children impacted by HIV and AIDS.” The forum will attempt to secure commitments for affected children to realize their right to health, education and welfare. Cash transfers and other social welfare instruments may alleviate poverty, improve school attendance and nutritional intake, Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen said. The forum brings together leaders in government, civil society and the UN to review progress, set priorities, and make commitments for children affected by HIV and AIDS. 6 October 2008Social services and the funding they entail are vital to ensure that children in households affected by HIV and AIDS are not forced to drop out of school to care for sick relatives or to engage in paid work when a breadwinner falls ill, a United Nations-backed forum said today.