29 February 2012

Big Day in International Children's Rights: Protection and Participation

Two significant things happened yesterday. Firstly, UNICEF's flagship report, The State of the World's Children 2012: Children in an Urban World was launched in Mexico City. Secondly, the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure opened for signature at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland. UNICEF's Report shows how urban inequality affects the lives of children. It goes on to make recommendations on protecting their rights.  The Optional Protocol will allow children to approach the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, if their rights are not being nationally protected and they have exhausted domestic remedies in their country.

Both the Report and the Optional Protocol are positive steps in protecting children's rights and increasing child participation. However, there is so much that still needs to be done. I will write a separate post on each soon, as both raise various issues.

One of the posters for UNICEF's 2012 Report.

21 February 2012

Call for Volunteers from the UN CSD Major Group for Children and Youth

I recently took on a voluntary role to facilitate youth engagement towards the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20) as a wider effort of the Major Group for Children and Youth. I have pasted their call for volunteers below. This is an exciting opportunity to help children and youth learn about sustainability issues and allow them to take action. After all, this is the world they are growing up in, and they will be in charge of it in the future - so it is essential they can have a say!

I just had a skype meeting with the other European outreach leaders and the regional coordinator said that there is a need for more volunteers in Europe. I, myself, am also hoping for more volunteers in the UK, as our team is still small. It will be nice to work with more people, and therefore reach more of the children and youth in the UK! However, people from any country can apply.

There are a couple of requirements. You must be under thirty at the time of the Rio +20 Conference (20-22 June 2012). You must also be able to dedicate a few hours towards the outreach tasks each week. Even if you feel this is not for you, please do forward it on to any of your contacts who might be interested. It will be great if more people could be involved! The call for volunteers and the method to apply is below.


Call for volunteers - Push for change! Be the voice!

Do you care about our future? Do you think that our actions can impact on the world around us? Are you willing to work with other young people to change our future?
Then join the Major Group of Children and Youth! 

We are the young peoples voice at a UN level in Sustainable Development. If you are under 30--we are your space! Your platform! We collaborate. We work together to achieve goals - because we are a stronger voice when we work together!

So, join us and help make sure that young people are not forgotten when governments talk about our futures.

If you're lucky enough to read this and realise that you're part of the change - and your opinions count, then you've already taken the first step to ensuring youth-led sustainable development! Because young people's voices often go unheard and we're trying to change that.

There's something BIG happening in June: the UN Earth Summit (also known as Rio+20), where decisions will be taken that concern all of us. Have a look: http://www.uncsd2012.org/rio20/

We want to provide young people with the skills and knowledge to influence crucial decisions which will be made at the Earth Summit. To do this we need to reach out to children and youth across the world, including young people without internet, and we need help!

If you are interested in helping young people to make their voices heard, then please volunteer with us! Volunteers will be expected to commit to a few hours each week for the next 3 months to work on raising participation and awareness. You'll need internet connection, as most of the work will be carried out online.

***Please note that the positions are unpaid! You must also be UNDER 30 YEARS OF AGE **
Volunteering with the MGCY is a great way to make friends, learn new skills, and help other young people to change the world and make it a better place! If this sounds like you, then check out the roles below and get in touch with us! 


Outreach Team Leaders

1. Provide a written overview (1-2 pages long) of issues surrounding sustainable development in their country
2. Drawing up a list of NGOs and institutions in their own countries
3. Emailing them our capacity-building toolkit
4. Assist in the capacity-building process
5. Evaluate and report to the MGCY


1. Translate written and online resources into French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, Russian, Hindi, Arabic, Swahili, Mandarin/Cantonese, Japanese - or any other language that you are fluent in.

So if you want to get involved, please fill in the following form:

Follow us on twitter@MGCY_UNCSD  #Rioplus20  #mgcy 
Or watch us on Youtubehttp://www.youtube.com/user/UNCSDChildrenYouth