At the beginning of 2021, the Romanian Children's Board has renewed with half of its members
15 teenagers from across the country, aged between 12 and 17, join the group formed at the initiative of UNICEF
BUCHAREST, February 3, 2021. The Romanian Children's Board - an informal group of children and adolescents of different ages, from different regions and ethnic groups, from urban and rural areas, living with their families or included in the child protection system - finalized the recruitment process for the renewal of half of its members. The 15 teenagers, boys and girls, are thus joining the current active members of the Board, elected at the beginning of the previous year, replacing the members who have reached the age of 18.
The recruitment and selection process was carried out by the sitting members of the Children's Board, who reviewed over 200 applications during several weeks. Of the 15 new members, seven are under 15 and eight are between 15 and 17 years old. Eight girls and seven boys were selected, from different areas of the country: Neamț, Vaslui, Alba, Mureș, Bucharest, Suceava, Călărași, Dâmbovița and Giurgiu. New members include children from residential centers or who have been adopted, children with disabilities or children with special educational needs.
The Children's Board was established in 2019, in the context of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, when the Romanian Government and UNICEF collaborated to promote at European level, as a priority, the right of children to participate in decisions concerning them.
In workshops, online and offline, the children of the Romanian Children's Board drafted, in the first months of 2019, the preliminary version of the "Bucharest Declaration of Children in the European Union", an urgent appeal to the European Union and its member states to ensure that children's participation becomes a priority and a reality. The document, finalized and adopted at the “Children's Participation in Decision-Making and Policy-Making at European Union level” international conference in Bucharest, was disseminated throughout the European Union to gather support and feedback from children and civil society organizations in EU Member States.
In December 2019, the Children's Board initiated, organized and conducted the selection of new members, selected by the children, to continue its proposed objectives. During 2020, the Children's Board participated in consultations and meetings with the Romanian Ombudswoman and the Child Ombudsman, with the Department for Sustainable Development within the Romanian Government, proposing, together with UNICEF and the National Students' Council, a set of ten solutions to improve the situation of children in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Board members also contributed to the rapid assessment of the situation of children and families, with a focus on vulnerable groups, in the context of the COVID-19 epidemic in Romania, promoting and supporting, at national level, the right of children to be heard and their views to be taken into account, as set out in Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. In the coming weeks, the Children's Board will establish a calendar of events and actions for this year.
"We welcome the new members of the Board at the beginning of a year which, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is currently as difficult for children as the previous one, in terms of education and development. We welcome the energy, ideas and enthusiasm with which they are embarking on this new experience and we reaffirm the support that UNICEF will give for the initiatives of the new group of children that make up the Board, so that children's participation is guaranteed through formal mechanisms to promote this right" said Pieter Bult, UNICEF Representative in Romania.
Over the two years since its establishment, the Children's Board has used tools such as the online platform U-Report to find out the concerns, ideas and suggestions of over 10,000 children and young people on many topics of interest and to promote them. During the state of emergency, Board members developed communication materials to support children who have to remain home and learn remotely. On the World Children’s Day, an event celebrated worldwide on November 20, the Children's Board took over the Romanian media, participating in television and radio shows, publishing articles in the press and engaging into dialogue with decision-makers at the level of central and local authorities. In November 2020, Rareș, Sophia and Sebastian, three members of the Board, participated in a televised debate with the leaders of the Romanian political parties, to whom they asked live questions about the issues that concern them.
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.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.