Pan-African Child Rights Forum (PACRiF)
30 years after the UNCRC and the ACRWC: recommitting to an Africa fit for children
The Pan-African Child Rights Forum (PACRiF) is one of three events that UNICEF-AU Office is organizing to mark the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC30) in November 2019 and the 30th anniversary of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC30) in 2020.
The two other events are: The Pan-African Intergenerational Dialogue (PAIGED) on Child Rights in June 2020 on the Day of the African Child and the Pan-African Summit for Children in November 2020.
The PACRiF particularly, is organized in the continuum of many other events taking place around the world starting in November 2019 calling for a popular support and political will to demand and to accelerate the full implementation of child rights instruments and AU decisions for every child on the continent.
The Members States of the African Union have always shown through political declarations and continental legal instruments their interest towards access to rights and welfare for children on the continent.
In July 1990, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) was adopted by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity and entered into force in November 1999. After 30 years of its adoption, 48 countries have ratified the Charter. The African Children’s Charter encompasses a wide array of rights and obligations for a better advancement of children’s rights in Africa.
In 2001, the African Common Position on Children (the Declaration and Plan of Action Towards an Africa Fit for Children) was adopted at the first Pan African Forum on Children in Cairo. The Plan of Action comprised a wide range of policies and programmes for the protection and welfare of children. In 2007, at the Second Pan African Forum on Children held in Cairo, Member States reviewed progress and challenges and adopted the Call for Accelerated Action Towards Africa Fit for Children (the “Call”) with a Plan of Action (2008-2012). In November 2012, the AU held the third Pan-African Forum on Children (19-20 November 2012) under the theme ‘Accountability for Investment in Children’. With the objective to promote and reinforce national actions for children through a Renewed Call for Action Towards an Africa Fit for Children for the period 2012-2017.
Today, many Governments have changed laws and taken more action so that children don’t suffer discrimination and increasingly decisions are made in their best interests, so they can survive and develop and participate in their societies. More children are going to school, the number of children fully immunized has also improved thus, considerably lowering the infant mortality rate in many countries. Unfortunately, despite this progress, not every child gets to enjoy a full childhood. Millions of children continue to suffer violations of their rights when they are denied adequate healthcare, nutrition, education and protection from violence. Still, childhoods are cut short when children are forced to leave school, do hazardous adult work, get married, fight in wars or are locked up in adult prisons.
Thirty years on, the global changing context marked by the digital technology, environmental and climate change, recurring conflicts, mass migrations and violent extremism is likely to compromise the continent capacity to sustain the gains and achieve the AU Aspirations for the children as outlined in the Agenda 2040. The celebrations in 2019 and 2020 of the thirtieth anniversary of both UNCRC and the African Charter give the opportunity to look ahead to the future of childhood in Africa and commit to urgent, concrete actions to protect and promote the rights of every child, now, and in future generations.
The purpose of the Forum is to provide Child Rights actors opportunities to discuss progress, gaps, and emerging issues related to Child Rights in Africa and share their views on the critical actions needed to fully implement child rights instrument on the continent.
Building on a deep analysis of the situation of children on the continent and considering the impact of the fast-changing social, economic and political context on the realization of the Rights of the Child, Experts at the Forum will formulate recommendations for the acceleration of the implementation of the various Child Rights instruments on the continent.
These recommendations will be presented at the AU Children Summit in November 2020 for consideration by AU Member States.
Proposed target audience
Building on a deep analysis of the situation of children on the continent and considering the impact of the fast-changing social, economic and political context on the realization of the Rights of the Child, Experts at the Forum will formulate recommendations for the acceleration of the implementation of the various Child Rights instruments on the continent. These recommendations will be presented at the AU Children Summit in November 2020 for consideration by AU Member States.
Format of the PACRiF
The PACRiF will be delivered using a participatory approach through presentations, Expert Panel discussions, breakaway sessions and plenary discussions.
Thematic focus of the PACRiF
Presentations and discussions during the Forum will focus on the following thematic:
Session 1: The Situation of Children in Africa today
This session will look at the implementation trajectory of Child Rights in Africa over the last thirty years. Looking at the legislative framework, the programmatic and accountability mechanisms, Experts will present progress achieved, gaps and emerging issues.
After an overview presentation, the topic will be further discussed through a deep dive panel discussion covering the following specific rights categories:
- Child Survival Rights in Africa
- Child Developmental Rights in Africa
- Child Protection Rights in Africa
- Child Participation Rights in Africa
Session 2: The evolving context and implications for child rights in Africa.
The session will examine the evolving social, political and economic context in Africa and its impact on the realization of Child Rights for every child on the continent in the coming years. Experts will discuss risks and opportunities associated with the key drivers of the changing context and the realization of Child Rights.
After an overview presentation, the topic will be further discussed through a deep dive panel discussion covering the following specific drivers of the changing context:
- Demography, economic growth, inequality and Child rights:
- Globalization, Technologies and Child Rights
- Conflicts, climate change, forced displacements and Child Rights
- Governance Institutions, Voice and Child rights
Session 3: Moving forward the child rights in Africa: An Agenda for Action
This session will discuss and recommend critical actions needed to accelerate full implementation of child rights in Africa. The session will recommend action to deal with barriers linked to legislations and policies, child rights programming, accountability mechanism, community involvement, partnership and financing child rights programs.
After an overview presentation, the topic will be further discussed through group work covering the following issues:
- Legislative and policy priorities
- Programmatic and accountability priorities
- Family and community level actions
- Partnerships and resource mobilization priorities
After the closing remarks, participants will be invited to an evening cocktail. The Cocktail will be used to present the outcome of the Forum. Some partners and Personalities willing to show their solidarity with the UNCRC@ 30 Global pledge “For every Child, every Right” will also be given the floor to read their statements.
Dates and venue
The PACRiF is a one-day event planned for 16 January 2020 in Addis Ababa at the UNECA Conference Centre.