All Aboard: How children can improve public decision-making

The Eurochild Conference 2018, which was attended by 100 children and 200 professionals, showcased examples of child participation and ended with 3 concrete recommendations on how to involve children in public decision making.

The event, hosted by Eurochild member Society Our Children Opatija, offered a space for mutual learning between children and adults in the child-friendly city of Opatija, which lies on the beautiful Croatian coast.

Day 1

The conference kicked off with high-level speakers offering inspiration and food for thought on how children can become active agents in influencing and improving public decision-making. Among them, Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands who reminded participants that children do not only represent the future: ”They are not future citizens, they are full citizens and should be treated as such now"

Day 2

On the second day participants met local professionals, discovered local services, connecting the dots between policy and practice with over 10 study visits and 13 workshops.

Day 3

The third day started with the Human Library. Participants were divided into groups and listened to personal experiences and projects regarding child participation. The conference ended with the closing panel and questions and statements from the audience.

What kind of Europe we will have next year after the election? Is it going to be friendly for children, or we will continue to confront children’s rights throughout fake news and propaganda? #Eurochildconf @Eurochild_org @nmdbg pic.twitter.com/R5IYUxZ5R4
— George Bogdanov (@BogdanovGeorge)
October 31, 2018

#EurochildConf Closing session after 3 great days with a strong focus on Child Rights and participation. Thanks to all participants, children young people and adults for your commitment and enthusiasm and your great spirit: all on board towards a better future. pic.twitter.com/m6XMyQve6r
— Geert Jørgensen (@geertjorgensen)
October 31, 2018

Children reported back all the attendees’ suggestions collected during the three days and the three final recommendations from adults, children and young people were presented :

  1. Every government in Europe should make teaching about children’s right to participate a mandatory part of the curriculum in every school.

  2. Every government in Europe should implement an inclusive participation strategy, for ALL children, that obliges local, regional and national decision makers to take children’s views into account.

  3. Every government in Europe should be obliged to provide evidence of the impact of children in setting the agenda, influencing decisions and following these through.

If you want to know about the conference: