Child participation involves encouraging and enabling children to make
their views known on the issues that affect them. Put into practice,
participation is adults listening to children — to all their multiple
and varied ways of communicating. It ensures their freedom to express
themselves and takes their views into account when coming to decisions
that affect them. Engaging children in dialogue and exchange allows
them to learn constructive ways of influencing the world around them.
The full report is available in PDF both as one single file and in parts.
A text-only version, which includes the complete text of the report,
without illustrations, captions, maps, tables or index, is also available.
Full report (PDF, 3 MB)
Covers (front and back) (PDF, 67 KB)
Contents and foreword (PDF,
Chapters (PDF, 890 KB)
References, index and glossary
(PDF, 67 KB)
Maps (PDF, 1,7 MB)
Tables (PDF, 230 KB)
Text-only version (PDF, 162 KB)
The nine chapters of the report are available in PDF only. You can download
all the chapters of the report in one
single file (PDF, 890 KB).
Chapter 1 - Children must be heard
Child participation involves adults listening to children and taking
their views into account in coming to decisions that affect them.
Chapter 2 - Why participation, why
The values of democracy, such as respect for the rights and
dignity of all people, for their diversity and their right to participate,
are first and best learned in childhood. Promoting meaningful and quality
participation of children and adolescents prepares them for their stake
in the future.
Chapter 3 - Engaging life
Children participate in life from the first, and adults must
ensure that they have the best possible start by expanding and enhancing
their opportunities to participate.
Chapter 4 - Active learning
Schools are increasingly places where children are enabled to
think critically and where they actively prepare for their role as citizens.
Chapter 5 - The sharpest edge
Adolescents are the world’s most immediate heirs: the
next age group to gain access to the advantages and opportunities of
adulthood yet also the group most likely to find itself endangered by
the ugliest failures of society.
Chapter 6 - Listening to children
A shift in thinking and approach is required from adults in
order to increase their capacity to listen to and understand children
and to include them in ‘serious’ discussions.
Chapter 7 - Spaces for participation
Optimizing children’s participation depends on adults
sharing control, power, decision-making and information.
Chapter 8 - At the UN Special Session
There were children everywhere, making their voices heard and
being taken seriously.
Chapter 9 - Moving forward
The full participation of children and young people will be
critical to meeting the goals of ‘A World Fit for Children’
and attaining the Millennium Development Goals.
The eight special topics, or panels, are available online and as part
of the chapters in the print report. You can download all the chapters
of the report in one single file
(PDF, 890 KB).
1. What children see, they show
Photography and drawing projects around the world encourage children
to share their observations of the world as they see it.
Go to Topic 1 (HTML)
2. Child participation: Myth and
Many myths surround the idea of child participation, but reality
Go to Topic 2 (HTML)
3. A child’s ‘right’
A ‘cluster of participation articles’ in the Convention
on the Rights of the Child provides the argument for the child’s
‘right’ to participate.
Go to Topic 3 (HTML)
4. Girls win big!
In Kenya, a group of girls claim their right to play — this time
in the traditionally male game of football.
Go to Topic 4 (HTML)
5. Building nations
Children are speaking up around the world on legislative matters
that affect them – and in many nations, governments are listening.
Go to Topic 5 (HTML)
6. We asked them to speak
One of the largest multi-country surveys asked children what
they thought and what they hoped for.
Go to Topic 6 (HTML)
7. Children and the media
Children around the world are using the media as a tool to voice
their opinions and produce change.
Go to Topic 7 (HTML)
8. We are the world’s children
Some 400 young people participating in the Children’s
Forum immediately preceding the Special Session on Children, agreed
on the statement entitled ‘A World Fit for Us’, which was
delivered to world leaders at the UN General Assembly.
Go to Topic 8 (HTML)
The text figures are available online and as part of the chapters in
the print report. You can download all the chapters of the report in
one single file (PDF, 890 KB).
1. Children’s participation
As children grow and develop, their opportunities for participation
expand from private to public spaces, from local to global influence.
Go to Text
figure 1 (HTML)
2. The world is becoming more democratic
Democratic governments were on the rise in the last 15 years as authoritarianism
Go to Text figure 2 (HTML)
3. Decline in voter turnout in G7
The percentage of recent voter turnout in G7 countries has declined
noticeably compared to 1945-1990 figures.
Go to Text figure 3 (HTML)
Pictorial representations of children’s and young people’s
opinions expressed in polls and surveys, and of children’s views
on a world fit for children. The selected indices illustrate elements
of the children’s vision set against challenges to their well-being.
The maps are available online, or you can download them as one
single file (PDF, 1.7 MB).
1. What the children think
In surveys and consultations, children told us what they think and what
they know about HIV/AIDS and about their involvement in domestic decision-making.
Go to Map 1 (HTML)
2. What the children want: Health,
education, healthy environment
Children asked world leaders at the UN Special Session on Children to
ensure every child’s right to health care, education and healthy
Go to Map 2 (HTML)
3. What the children want: Protection
Children told world leaders at the Special Session on Children that
they want an end to poverty, exploitation and war.
Go to Map 3 (HTML)
Economic and social statistics on the countries and territories of the
world, with particular reference to children’s well-being.
The tables are available online, or you can download them as one
single file (PDF, 230 KB).
1. Basic indicators
Go to Table 1 (HTML)
Go to Table 2 (HTML)
Go to Table 3 (HTML)
Go to Table 4 (HTML)
5. Demographic indicators
Go to Table 5 (HTML)
6. Economic indicators
Go to Table 6 (HTML)
Go to Table 7 (HTML)
8. HIV/AIDS and malaria
Go to Table 8 (HTML)
9. The rate of progress
Go to Table 9 (HTML)
Under-five mortality rankings
Go to Table (HTML)