European experts and NGOs Discussed Investment in Child Rights

2014 07 11
European experts and NGOs Discussed Investment in Child Rights
The rapidly evolving European child rights policy, the synergies between EU and EEA funds in strengthening child rights protection in the recipient countries, and the civil society’s role in further shaping the European and national responses to child rights issues was the focus of the thematic EEA Grants operators’ meeting with participation of  the representatives of European Commission, EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), Norwegian Government, and key human rights NGOs from EEA Grants Beneficiary countries, in Vilnius, on 10 July 2014. 
Over the last several years the focus on child rights in Europe has been increasing. Good efforts have been made in addressing the most urgent child rights issues such as combating child sexual abuse and protecting the rights of child victims of crime. EU Child Rights Agenda (2011), Council of Europe Strategy for the Rights of the Child 2012-2015, EC Recommendation on Investing in Children (2013) as well as the upcoming EU Guidelines for Child Protection Systems mark the emergence of an integrated approach to child rights protection at the European level. 
Civil society groups have played an instrumental role in placing and keeping child rights issues on the European and national governments’ agenda. They provide numerous European children with vitally needed services and support, and inform European and national policies and legislation with good practices designed to better meet the needs and interests of the children. One of the recent examples of a CSO-run European wide initiative is a campaign on ending institutional care for children “Opening doors” that urges EU institutions and national governments to invest in services for families and children and promote alternative family and community based care. 
“To anchor this approach and improve the overall well-being of children in Europe, mobilisation of financial instruments and creating synergies between various funds is essential”, said Dovile Sakaliene, Managing Director of the NGO Programme. Financial contributions from such major donors as EU and EEA should strengthen national child rights protection of the recipient countries and facilitate the implementation of best practices and international standards in this area, including through support to civil society organisations.”
The first panel “Child Rights Protection Policies” comprised of Ioannis Dimitrakopoulos, Head of the Equality and Citizens' Rights Department, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, Edita Žiobienė, Ombudsperson for Children's Rights, and Dainius Pūras, Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Vilnius University, former Member of UN Committee for the Rights of the Child explored the latest trends and developments in the European child rights policies and legislation and discuss how these developments should be translated to national child protection systems to achieve the desired outcomes. 
On second panel “Funding Child Rights Protection” Bjørn Bredesen, Deputy Director General, the Royal Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion (Kingdom of Norway), Julius op de Beke, Socio-Economic Policy Analyst, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, European Commission, and Sergejus Muravjovas, Executive Director, Transparency International Lithuania, shared their approaches and insights on ensuring efficient and transparent funding for the intended betterment of child rights protection level across level. 
The third panel “Role of Civil Society in Promoting and Protecting the Rights of Children” provided civil society organisations representatives Virginija Pleckevičienė, Child Rights Adviser, SOS Children’s Villages Lithuania, Aušra Kurienė, Director, Child Support Centre, Kristina Mišinienė, Coordinator of the Project „Aid to the Victims of Prostitution and Trafficking”, Caritas Lithuania, and Mėta Adutavičiūtė, Legal and Policy Adviser, Human Rights Monitoring Institute, with a platform to present their initiatives, expose the challenges CSOs are facing and discuss the concrete ways to enhance the role of civil society in child rights protection with support from EU and EEA. 
Ambassador of Kingdom of Norway to Lithuania, Leif Arne Ulland welcome speech find here.
Keynote address by Dovile Sakaliene, NGO Programme Director, Human Rights Monitoring Institute Executive Director find here. 
Presentations of speakers and pictures may be found here