Parliamentarians from across Europe and Central Asia pledge stronger investment in children and young people
UNICEF will establish a regional parliamentarian platform for the legislators to share experiences and knowledge and accelerate policy change
GENEVA, 15 December 2021 – UNICEF organized yesterday a high-level consultation with parliamentarians from across Europe and Central Asia to promote and protect the rights of children and young people in the region.
In Europe and Central Asia, an additional 3.2 million children will be among the estimated 6.4 million people who will join the 22 million children and their families living below the national poverty lines. The most affected children are those with disabilities, in institutional care, refugee and migrant, and from minority communities.
“The impact of COVID-19 is not equally distributed: it has been and will be the most severe and long-lasting for children who were already in a situation of vulnerability. School closures, in particular, have widened the gap in access to quality education, leaving many children without the means or the institutional support to benefit from digital learning. Addressing these issues and ensuring that COVID-19 response measures take children’s needs into account requires our urgent collective efforts,” said Ms. Afshan Khan, Regional Director for UNICEF Europe and Central Asia.
The Regional Consultation of Parliamentarians event drew about 110 participants representing national parliaments, international and regional parliamentary organizations from across Europe and Central Asia. The virtual meeting focused on the urgent needs of children and young people in the region, and the critical role parliamentarians can play in tackling key development challenges impacting their lives. The meeting engaged lawmakers and stakeholders to identify collaboration, progress, and new opportunities around legislation, budgeting and public finance for children, advocacy, partnerships, and youth engagement.
Republic of Croatia was represented by Mr. Marko Pavić, Chairperson of Committee on Regional Development and European Union Funds in Croatian Parliament.
Mr. Marko Pavić, Chairperson of Committee on Regional Development and European Union Funds in Croatian Parliament said: "I support UNICEF in Croatia and abroad, and their work around pilot-program EU Child Guarantee, especially breaking the cycle of child poverty exclusion and promoting inclusion of most vulnerable groups. I also support and gladly participate in a traditional UNICEF humanitarian Milky Way Race."
As a follow-up, UNICEF will establish a regional parliamentarian platform for the legislators to share experiences, exchange knowledge, and inform and accelerate meaningful policy change and concrete solutions towards realizing the rights of children.
“We can bring hope to our children, especially the most vulnerable and marginalized, through social cohesion and inclusion,” said Mr. Philippe Cori, Deputy Regional Director, UNICEF Europe and Central Asia, who concluded the meeting by assuring UNICEF’s continued support to the parliamentarians in advancing child rights in the region.
The meeting ended with parliamentarians from 22 countries reaffirming their countries’ commitment to children’s rights by supporting the declaration of intent to build a safer and better future for every child across Europe and Central Asia.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.