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“If we create the right tools, children can positively contribute to building their future”, says Congress rapporteur Brigitte van den Berg

SDGs - Agenda 2030 Rome, Italy 8 april 2022
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“If we create the right tools, children can positively contribute to building their future”, says Congress rapporteur Brigitte van den Berg

“I am convinced that young children have a lot to say, and that they can shape our public policy. If we create the right tools, children can have a valuable contribution to their future,” stated Brigitte van den Berg (Netherlands, ILDG), Congress rapporteur on Children and Sustainable Cities, in a video message on the occasion of the High-level Launching Conference for the new Council of Europe Strategy for the Rights of the Child (2022-2027), held in Rome, on 7-8 April 2022.

This is the aim of the Congress booklet “How to make your town a better place”, aimed at children aged 6 to 11 and developed by the Congress, together with children. The booklet is a tool to help children understand the UN Sustainable Development Goals.  “With this booklet, we want to encourage local and regional authorities to involve children – to give them a say on how to defend their future, the environment, and their human rights. Children already think about these issues. It is up to us, mayors, city councillors, ‘adults’, to give them the chance to express these ideas, and most importantly, it is up to us to actually listen and take their proposals into account,” she stressed addressing the participants of the “Deep dive conversation” on “Understanding the challenges faced by children as defenders of human rights”.

The Congress rapporteur also highlighted the importance of the Additional Protocol to the European Charter of Local Self-Government on the right to participate in the affairs of a local authority. “In June, we will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the entry into force of this key text which also concerns children and not only adults, because children should also have a say, in particular on public local affairs,” she concluded.

The High-Level Conference, “Beyond the horizon: a new era for the rights of the child”, was organised in the framework of and hosted by the Italian Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, to launch the Council of Europe Strategy for the Rights of the Child (2022-2027) as a European instrument guiding the Council of Europe and its member states in protecting and promoting the rights of the child

 Brigitte van den Berg (Netherlands, ILDG), Congress rapporteur on Children and Sustainable Cities