The EU Children’s Conference in Bucharest

"The Children's Participation in Decision-Making and Policy-Making at European Union level" international conference will provide the basis for mechanisms for consulting children in EU decision-making

Inaugural meeting of the Romanian Children’s Board and partners, January 24th 2019, Bucharest
UNICEF/Andra Manea
04 May 2019
Given that 1 in 5 European citizens is a child or a young person and considering children’s right to be consulted and to actively participate in decision-making that affects them, as provided for in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, their involvement in the debates that define the future of Europe is a priority for the Romanian Government during our country’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

As part of that undertaking, the Ministry of Labour and Social Justice through the National Authority for the Protection of Children’s Rights and Adoption, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – through the Minister for European Affairs, and UNICEF Romania have agreed to cooperate with a view to promoting children’s right to participation as a priority. The main goal of the cooperation is to boost children’s involvement in child-related decision-making and policy development processes, at the level of the European Union.

This will be achieved by setting general rules and clear structural mechanisms at EU level, allowing children to get truly involved in the debates and decision-making that will shape the future of the European Union. Hence, during the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, through an ample consultation process involving European children, international experts and representatives of European institutions active in the field of children’s rights, the “Bucharest EU Children’s Declaration” will be issued.

The Declaration will be a tool capable of mobilising the European institutions and the EU Member States to develop formal structures and mechanisms meant to promote children’s right to participation, in accordance with the EU Recommendation “Investing in Children”, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The “Bucharest EU Children’s Declaration”, drafted by the Romanian Children’s Board, set up specifically for that purpose, is currently being disseminated across Europe through the networks of UNICEF, EuroChild, Save the Children, the Federation of Child Protection NGOs, and European high school student associations, to get buy-in and feedback from a large number of various groups of children all over the European Union.

This process will also be supported by a significant number of experts, whose recommendations and proposals regarding the design of the actual mechanisms for children’s participation in decision-making will be compiled in a supporting document that will accompany the “Bucharest EU Children’s Declaration”.

The high point of these ongoing endeavours will be the international conference “Child Participation in Decision-Making and Policy Development at EU Level”, to be held at Bucharest, from 6 to 7 May 2019.

During that event, children and adolescents from Romania and the EU Member States will finalise the Declaration and will present it to the representatives of the ministries and central authorities responsible for child rights issues in the 28 Member States, to child rights experts and the specialists of the European institutions and the European Parliament. 
The document will thus become a benchmark for defining children’s rights and asserting their right to participate in the adoption of all the policies and decisions that will contribute to building the future of the European Union.