2019 was a pivotal year for the European Union (EU) in light of the recent change of leadership in the main EU institutions. In May, European citizens elected over 751 new representatives to the European Parliament for a five-year term. Last July, during her opening statement before her election by the European Parliament, President of the European Commission Ursula Von der Leyen stated her commitment to children’s rights: “We have to care for the most vulnerable: our children.”
On 3-5 February 2020, our CEO and President, Andrew Morley, along with CEOs from Save the Children International, Plan International, ChildFund Alliance, Terre des Hommes International Federation and SOS Children’s Villages International, came together to Brussels as part of the Joining Forces for Child Rights Now initiative. Under this initiative, the six largest NGOs working with and for children have put together their expertise and resources to secure children’s rights by 2030 and to push for renewed political commitments to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
A series of high-level meetings took place with the newly appointed EU leadership to explore how the EU can place children and children’s rights at the centre of its agenda. During their visit, the Joining Forces CEOs met with Commissioner for Crisis Management Mr. Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for International Partnerships Ms Jutta Urpilainen and Vice-President for Democracy and Demography Ms Dubravka Šuica. Other meetings included a discussion with the European Parliament Intergroup on Child Rights, the European External Action Service and an exchange of views with Parliament Vice-President & Coordinator on children's rights, Ms Ewa Kopacz.
For the occasion, Joining Forces called upon all EU decision-makers to continue to:
invest in all children both inside and outside of Europe
listen to children’s voices and involve them in every decision through meaningful participation and act on children’s views
end all forms of violence against children
“ We’re speaking with one voice to those in the corridors of power here in Brussels. Our message is simple:
Children must be protected from violence.
Their voices must be heard.
Child rights must be at the centre of human rights.”
President and CEO Andrew Morley
Watch our President and CEO Andrew Morley summarize the Key messages of Joining Forces in Brussels.
The CEOs were very pleased to hear that European Leadership was committed to continuing their collaboration with CSOs and relied on their inputs on local contexts. During the meetings, EU decision-makers confirmed Africa is their top priority for 2020. They assured that working for the most vulnerable groups, amongst them boys and girls, was at the top of their agenda.
For more information on the Joining Forces for Child Rights Now Initiative, click here.