NPN meeting and high-level conference in Belgrade stressing the importance of investing in children

On 11 and 12 October NPN representatives from 21 countries in Europe met in Belgrade discussing key children’s rights issues in relation to investing in children.

Key issues discussed included the Pillar of Social Rights, the legislative proposal on Work Life Balance, the European Semester, the EU’s Multi-Annual Financial Framework, the importance of child participation and the Brexit campaign. 

The NPN meeting was followed by a conference  "Investing in Children - Benefit for All Children" co-organized by MODS, Eurochild, the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Team of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and UNICEF in Belgrade. International and domestic experiences and examples of public budget allocations with the aim of reducing poverty and social exclusion of children were presented. Significant ministerial commitments were made at the conference to align public financial resources with policies and legislation affecting children.

The conference concluded that it is necessary to intensify the work on the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (where the fight against child poverty is at the forefront) and improve the monitoring and evaluation of the financial allocations for children and families in Serbia (whereby international experience and methodology can be used). Groups of community services with sufficient coverage are needed to support families, especially those at risk of separation, and financial support to families and children living in poverty.

As Jorge Cardona, member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child said, investing in children is economically profitable, politically necessary and ethically correct.  European Commissioner Marianne Thyssen addressed the conference and stated that no child should suffer from poverty or social exclusion. She pleaded for investment in childcare, as childcare practically pays for itself, as within 10 year our society gets a full return on investment, while roads need 40 years. 

Participants took the opportunity to discuss how the EU can be a catalyst in supporting reform at national level, better public spending, long-term prevention & intervention. The importance of better defining investment priorities for realizing reforms at national level and increasing public investment aimed at reducing child poverty and social exclusion & promoting well-being was highlighted throughout the discussions. The importance of linking child rights impact assessments to child budgeting was stressed as well. Investing in children is not only benefiting children, but society as a whole.

For further information on the event:

Read the press release and see the photos of the event