Youth advocates from around the world gather in Ankara for the 24th Children’s Forum on Climate Action and Disaster Preparedness

21 November 2023

ANKARA, 20 November 2023 – A total of 20 adolescents representing Türkiye and 30 young delegates from various countries convened in Ankara from 18 to 20 November 2023 for the 24th Children’s Forum, a collaborative initiative by the Ministry of Family and Social Services and UNICEF. Hosted at the Presidential Palace, the forum aimed to empower youth and promote meaningful engagement in climate change and post-disaster policy-level discussions under the theme "Building Today Together." 

This year's Children’s Forum, adopting an international perspective, centred on critical issues such as climate change, natural disasters, and the meaningful involvement of adolescents and young people in policy discussions related to these challenges. 

The outcomes of the forum were presented to Mahinur Özdemir Göktaş, Minister of Family and Social Services; Paolo Marchi, UNICEF Representative to Türkiye and Child Ombudsperson, Celile Özlem Tunçak at the Presidential Complex. 

The young delegates enthusiastically advocated for collaboration with officials, emphasizing the importance of supporting children's participation in climate action and natural disaster preparedness. They highlighted key areas, including access to information, digital technologies, safe internet usage, and effective communication between children and families on a national, regional, and global scale. 

In a powerful gesture echoing last year's inclusivity, Türkiye extended invitations to youth from other countries, acknowledging the shared concern of climate change and natural disasters as a common threat that go beyond borders. Responding to this call, youths from 20 countries in Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East actively participated, engaging in fruitful discussions on environmental challenges and proposing innovative solutions. 

UNICEF Türkiye Representative Paolo Marchi said this forum is a great example of child participation, a testament to the power of collective dialogue, and a celebration of the voices that matter most: the voices of children! 

“Child participation is a key element of the rights guaranteed by the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Children must express themselves and articulate their thoughts and perspectives for the full realization of their rights to life, education, health, and overall well-being, especially in the face of climate, natural-related and human-made threats. We should make sure that children have opportunities and platforms to voice up their opinions and build their own futures.” 

Minister of Family and Social Services Mahinur Özdemir Göktaş said the following in her speech: "This forum has become a bridge for children to make their voices heard not only internally but also in the international arena. All of these activities have a strong impact on the promotion and improvement of children's rights, while giving our children self-confidence and experience. I believe that every step we take to build today together will make our tomorrow more beautiful, lively and livable."

Aile ve Sosyal Hizmetler Bakanı Mahinur Özdemir Göktaş ise konuşmasında şunlatrı söyledi: “Bu forum, çocukların sadece kendi içlerinde değil, uluslararası arenada da seslerini duyurabilmeleri için bir köprü oldu. Tüm bu çalışmalar çocuk haklarının yaygınlaştırılması ve iyileştirilmesine güçlü bir etki oluştururken çocuklarımıza özgüven ve tecrübe de kazandırıyor. Bugünü beraber inşa etmek için atacağımız her adımın, yarınımızı daha güzel, ferah ve yaşanır kılacağına inanıyorum.”

The 24th Children’s Forum exemplifies Türkiye's commitment to providing a platform for global youth collaboration, addressing critical issues that impact the well-being and future of children worldwide. 


Child Advisory Board   

Child Advisory Board is the consultative body of Provincial Child Rights Committees, which has been acting as the wider engagement mechanism in Türkiye since 2000. Provincial delegates elect 20 adolescents (10 girls 10 boys) among themselves to represent committees in national and global policy-level discussions. Board members serve for two years and work closely with the Minister, UNICEF Representative and other high-level officials. 

Children’s Forum   

Children’s forum is the annual gathering platform of provincial child rights committees which were established in 2000. In each province of Türkiye, adolescents between 12-18 can be part of these committees and implement their projects with their peers. UNICEF and the Ministry of Family and Social Services provides financial and technical support to committees. On 20 November, provincial delegates meet in Ankara to discuss their expectations and priority issues in Türkiye and submit a declaration to decision makers. 

Media contacts

Sema Hosta
Chief of Communication
UNICEF in Türkiye
Tel: + 90 312 454 10 10


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