Eurochild supports children participating at the 14th EU Forum on the Rights of the Child

Earlier in September, the Eurochild Child Participation Team supported children participating and leading sessions during the latest edition of the EU Forum on the Rights of the Child

This autumn, the European Commission’s child rights team organised the 14th edition of the EU Forum on the Rights of the Child with speakers and participants joining both in Brussels and online.  Following the success of the 13th Forum in 2020 where Eurochild supported over 60 children to participate, speak and lead sessions,  the European Commission committed to meaningfully involve more children in future editions. Eurochild was therefore once again asked to support and coordinate the participation of children for the 14th edition.

The three day event, dedicated to 'Bringing children to the centre: Empowering, protecting and including children',  brought together hundreds of participants including decision makers, civil society representatives, academics, lawyers, European Commission officials, and children. Workshops and plenary sessions centred around exploring progress made since the adoption of the EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child, discussing strengthening child protection systems and protecting children from violence, and it also marked the launch of the EU child participation platform.  

Alessia: “It was nice meeting new people and it was a nice experience being part of this forum"

Children were present in almost all sessions both as speakers and participants with 15 young people physically present in Brussels, and many others joining online. Eurochild Children’s Council representatives Iva, Elisabet and Liam were part of the group of young people present in Brussels who were invited to speak at the event. Iva and Elisabet opened the Forum alongside, Vice-President Šuica and shared what they hoped to discuss in the coming days. This included how to make States more accountable for the protection of rights, including children’s right to participate and improving mental health support for children.

Alex: “It was great to have a say and know that our opinions were being heard”

Liam meanwhile took on the task of wrapping up the conference and sharing what he had observed over the three days. Another five members from the Eurochild Children’s Council Mor, Rayaa, Anna, Jakob and Lana developed and led a session on child participation in the prevention of violence against children. They covered a range of topics, from the role poverty plays in worsening violence against children and how children can support poverty reduction, to how children can support the prevention of bullying in education systems. We are so proud of all of the council members who spoke, as well as those members helping and giving valuable input behind the scenes. We are also really grateful to the European Commission for all of their work to include young people in the event, as well as to all young people, and their supporting organisations, who took the time to be involved in the forum and contribute their views and ideas.

Bringing the Forum to a close, Liam shared that “In the future I would like to see the forum expand and see so many people attending. I want to see so many people attending the forum and so many young peoples’ voices being heard.”  We fully agree and hope that the European Commission will continue to meaningfully involve more children from diverse backgrounds in future editions of the Forum. This will enable children to have a seat at the table where important issues that affect their lives are being discussed, so that they can share their own views, solutions experiences and expertise.

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