The Senate of Gabon at the forefront of child rights advocacy and promotion

Taking legislative reform and social budgeting further

Brahim Ould Isselmou
Messages des filles en difficultés sociales accueillies au centre d’accueil pour enfants en difficulté social (C.A.P.E.D.S) de Libreville, République du Gabon, Avril 2016
F89A0060_61/2016
27 May 2019

On June 22, the Upper House of the Gabonese Parliament has set up a Child Rights Committee devoted to spurring legislative reform and social budgeting, laying the groundwork for an inclusive and protective environment for the Country’s most vulnerable groups. This was prompted by extensive UNICEF advocacy aiming at creating alliances and harnessing political will and action to bring about lasting change for children. The Senate commitment came at an important moment where the country is considering, with UNICEF support, comprehensive programme and policies towards fulfilling child rights.

The ceremony establishing the Committee took place in Omar Bongo Ondimba Palace, the Senate headquarters during a high-level advocacy session presided by the Senate Vice-President in the presence of senators, the Deputy Minister of Justice and Human rights and UNICEF Representative. The inception of the Child Rights Committee stems from a wide-ranging communication and public advocacy strategy in support to the Programme of Cooperation Gabon-UNICEF 2018-2022 to create impactful alliances of key stakeholders, notably parliamentarians, mayors, private sector and civil society partners.

Evidence-Based and driven advocacy is at the core of its action plan to inform policies and decision-making processes to put in place adequate measures, interventions and programmes that promote equity for every child. The Committee is composed of 14 senators representing sizable constituencies all over the country.  Important recommendations were issued to provide the Committee with all necessary means and guidance to carry out its work and to further advocate for the most urgent and strategic actions to improve the legal framework and the allocations for essential social services were adopted at the same session.

UNICEF Representative and the Senate Vice-President during the ceremony
UNICEF Gabon/ 2018/Lama
UNICEF Representative and the Senate Vice-President during the ceremony

Taking legislative reform and social budgeting further

The Child Right Committee, during Gabon’s Periodic Report presentation, recommended the creation of alliances and committees within the Parliament to complete the harmonization of domestic laws with the Convention on the Rights of the Child’s provisions and to adopt child-friendly legislation and policies.

 

 

Gabon’s legislators have always put children interest at the centre of their vision and action, enacting important laws such as the Juvenile Code which encompasses all childhood dimensions

Stephan Grieb, UNICEF Representative

‘’Our Programme of Cooperation relies on two main pillars related to legislative reform and social budgeting which are fundamentally linked to the Senate’s mission and which are instrumental in fully realizing children rights’’, he emphasized.  

As Gabon is an Upper Middle Income Country with a shrinking fiscal space due to the economic difficulties, this parliamentarian pledge and commitment to address the overlapping deprivations facing vulnerable groups ushers in a new phase of joint advocacy and synergetic actions that can lead to lasting change for the sake of the most disadvantaged children.