Romanian Children's Board
Promoting children’s right to participate in decision-making processes that directly affect them
The Romanian Children’s Board is a child-led group, with members of different ages, from various cities, from urban and rural areas, growing up in families and in public care, with various ethnic backgrounds, and diverse experience in representation. For some, it is the first time their voices are reaching decision-makers.
It all began in January 2019, during Romania’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, after the Ministry of Labor and Social Justice through the National Authority for the Protection of the Rights of the Child and Adoption, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UNICEF in Romania have agreed to work together to promote children’s right to participation as a priority.
During online and offline workshops, the Romanian Children’s Board developed the preliminary version of the ”Bucharest EU Children’s Declaration”, an urgent call on the EU and its Member States to make child participation a priority and a reality. This document has been disseminated across Europe, for support and feedback from EU Member States children and civil society organizations.
The “Bucharest EU Children’s Declaration” is the first manifesto of its kind in the world. Through this document, children are urging European leaders to consult and involve them when making decisions that regard their future, be it on environment, on education or on the community they live in. “Make child participation a priority and a reality”, reads the document, which requests the creation of a child consultation and participation mechanism at local, national and European level.
The Declaration was adopted at the end of the “Children's Participation in Decision-Making and Policy-Making at European Union level” international conference, organized in Bucharest on 6th and 7th of May. More than 60 children from 16 countries across the EU, representing a significant ratio among all the participants and dozens of representatives of EU institutions, European child rights experts, authorities, international CSOs and other decision makers took part in the event and debated on ways to make children’s voices heard.
Representatives of the Romanian Children’s Board were able to hand over the Declaration to several EU leaders, among which Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, Joseph Daul, the President of the European People's Party, and Klaus Iohannis, the Romanian President. Romanian Junior Ambassadors to the EU and members of the Children's Board, Ariana and Rareș also presented the Declaration to youth and education ministers and representatives of all 28 EU Member States in Brussels, also a one of a kind endeavor.
Child participation is a right enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the most ratified human rights convention globally, but the realization of this right is far from reality. It is not only because participation is a right that we should take this seriously, or because 1 in 5 Europeans is 18 years old or younger. The way children think, their openness to change, their unbiased views, and their out-of-the box thinking, are critical traits that can help find solutions to the world’s most persistent issues, be it poverty, climate change or migration.