Building a Europe for and with children

Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe
Building a Europe for and with Children - conclusions
Your Royal Highness,
Excellencies, young participants, Ladies and Gentlemen,

We did not want to conclude this conference to launch the programme "Building a Europe for and with children" by having you adopt yet another declaration.

In the best of all worlds (a perfect world for children), the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child would be largely sufficient to establish the necessary conditions for the emergence of the Europe it is our desire and our duty to build.

However, if that "piece of paper" is to become the strongest, most effective building material in the world, we must all act together, and in a co-ordinated way. You doubtless know that the diamond is the hardest of the gemstones. But did you know that diamonds are simply made of carbon atoms? Their hardness is due to the cohesive forces between the atoms. It is the painstaking work of the gem cutter which brings out the beauty and the brilliance of the diamond.

I invite you to stay and work with us throughout the process we are launching today: the Monaco process.

The two main objectives we have set ourselves (promoting children's rights and eradicating violence against children) entail a multitude of extremely practical forms of action, some of which are already being implemented. They range from:

• the development of new, and highly necessary, standards to the drafting of text books for the teaching of children's rights;

• teacher training courses on violence in school to campaigns for the abolition of corporal punishment;

• the production of positive parenting guides to education schemes targeting Roma children;

• or the establishment of permanent bodies for children's participation to the launch of a web-site specially designed for children.

It is true that we have given ourselves three years in which to meet two great challenges:

1. proposing model national strategies for child protection and violence prevention;

2. offering States the methodologies, tools and networks that will enable genuine participation by children.

Three years is both a short and a long time. We are aware that the number of children in distress makes this an urgent matter. However, I am convinced that, starting from today - 5 April 2006, each day will be a day won for the children's cause, as every day new objectives will be achieved and new activities undertaken.

Here I am counting on the strength of purpose of two driving forces of the Council of Europe - the Parliamentary Assembly and the Commissioner for Human Rights - and on their extraordinary capacity for action. I am also counting on the hundreds of people within the organisation's secretariat who devote themselves to this cause.

Mr Commissioner, dear Thomas,

Your presence here today, just after taking up your duties, is more than a token gesture. You are an exemplary defender of the cause of children, and I am delighted to have such a precious, energetic ally within the Council of Europe.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our aim with this launch conference was to provide a forum for debate, affording all those who work on behalf of children the possibility to make themselves heard. On looking at the list of participants, I am sorry I was not able to talk to each of you, as I am sure you have so much to tell us. For that reason, I encourage you to send us your comments in writing. Our team will produce a summary of them, which we will send you along with the texts of the addresses given by the speakers during the plenary sessions. These words will of course be followed by action.
Your Royal Highness,

I thank you from the bottom of my heart for having chaired and supported our proceedings and I am moved by the sincere commitment you have shown throughout the two days of this conference. I am convinced that for many children you are the greatest of all princesses.

I have to tell our young participants that it is difficult to sum up my feelings about their participation in just a few words. I will therefore simply say Bravo and Thank you – both of which speak a thousand words.

Dear Tamar, it gave me great pleasure to learn that on this visit to Monaco you saw the sea for the first time. My wish for you is that you will continue to broaden your horizons.

Mr Government Counsellor,
Mr Ambassador,
Dear friends from Monaco,

I wish to thank you for all the preparations you made for this conference and, above all, for having decided to accompany us on the road we are beginning to travel today.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I thank all of you for your commitment, your participation and your contributions. Above all, I hope to see you again soon. You are both carbon atoms and diamond cutters. Together, we can give the raw material of the United Nations Convention the strength, the power, the beauty and the brilliance it deserves - and which our children deserve too.