Mr Palm's speech on the launching of the Children's Rights Observatory report on 14 December 2011
Children’s Rights are everyone’s concern. Most officials, celebrities, businesses, citizens and parents will readily accept their share of responsibility when it is about children. Consensus around the wellbeing of children is more frequently achieved than in any other area of development or reform.
But to turn a good heart for children into real actions is another matter. To ensure that all children can enjoy their rights as enshrined in the UN Convention the Rights of the Child is a serious business. It requires professionalism, detailed information and analysis, and dialogue.
There are often different views about the same matter. Where some see high school enrolment rates, others see children still left behind. Where some see more efficient use of state resources, others see children being excluded. Everywhere in the world, there is a government view, the view of civil society, the view of independent experts, and the view of those directly affected. The more credible data we have, the better the chance that all partners will be able to agree and find the best solutions.
Child observatories now exist in almost all regions of Albania. I hope that all regions will soon have functioning observatories. They monitor the rights of the child, collect data and analyse them through a civil society lens. In most cases, the statisticians of the child observatories work very closely with their government counterparts. Some regional councils provide office space, because they realized the value that they add in the council deliberations on regional plans and budgets.
Decentralization can be a powerful mechanism, especially for better local and regional policies – but also requires increased capacity for seeking and managing information. The observatories contribute to this, and I am sure they will increase the efficiency of local and regional policy making. I hope that financial decentralization will follow.
I am delighted about the launch of the first joint reports of the nine child observatories. The reports provide a snapshot of the situation of children in each respective region, easily compared among each other. Often data is available down to the district or commune level, and can be used for local planning.
Some information may be known already, other information is new. Some data may be readily agreeable, some may be contested. Certainly, the reports put child welfare at the core of regional development. More types of information may be added in future reports. I am sure that the report will be an invaluable source of information for local, regional and national policy about children. I am also sure that it will help to strengthen partnerships in the regions, it will institutionalize civic participation on issues concerning children, and will help to create more awareness about the observatories as a form of civic engagement.