Each year, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) makes important decisions affecting the lives of people around the world. Its resolutions recommend a course of action for all United Nations Member States on a wide array of topics from human rights to education, development, climate, violence against children, and peace and security, among others. One of these resolutions addresses children’s rights. The 2019 UN General Assembly Resolution on the Rights of the Child focused on the theme of children without parental care, offering an important opportunity to: place children without parental care on the global agenda, review progress made in preventing unnecessary family-child separation and providing appropriate alternative care, and recommend specific actions to strengthen care reforms globally.
Recognizing this critical opportunity, Better Care Network collaborated with an unprecedented coalition of over 255 organizations, networks, and agencies working at local, national, regional and global levels across all regions to develop, endorse, and advocate for a comprehensive set of Key Recommendations for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) 2019 Resolution on the Rights of the Child with a focus on children without parental care.
In November 2018, BCN partnered with UNICEF and SOS Children’s Villages to host a meeting of representatives from 14 organizations, networks, and agencies in New York to discuss the 2019 UNGA Resolution on the Rights of the Child. At the meeting, participants agreed to work together to develop and propose key recommendations and messages for Member States to include in the draft resolution.
Following the November meeting, a UNGA Advocacy Coalition (co-chaired by BCN and Save the Children) was established and many other organizations joined the effort, making the process as inclusive as possible. A working group collaborated to develop and negotiate Key Recommendations for the 2019 UNGA Resolution on the Rights of the Child on behalf of the coalition. The Key Recommendations reflect agreed commitments by States under international standards, in particular the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children, as well as previous UNGA resolutions and other negotiated documents. The recommendations are bold and focused on what needs to be done to implement the commitments made by governments towards children, families, and communities. Following the finalization of the Key Recommendations, members of the coalition conducted targeted outreach to other organisations and networks to secure their endorsement and support for the recommendations.
In October of 2019, BCN promoted the major themes of the recommendations during the annual Child Rights week event hosted by the European Union, Group of Latin American and Caribbean States and UNICEF. Moderated by Cornelius Williams, Chief of Child Protection at UNICEF, Preventing Family Separation & Protecting Rights of Children without Parental Care brought together a panel of experts to take a deeper look at the theme for the 2019 Resolution on the Rights of the Child.
The resolution, which was formally adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 18, 2019, represents a major step forward and a fantastic tool to strengthen care reforms globally. BCN's December 2019 newsletter issue highlighted the Resolution and other recently adopted Resolutions and published reports from the UNGA. At the time of the adoption of the resolution, 256 organisations, agencies and networks had endorsed the Key Recommendations. The resolution reflects a global commitment to strengthen children’s care in their families, prevent unnecessary separation by addressing its root causes, put an end to child institutionalization by progressively replacing it with family and community based care and address some of the drivers supporting it, including orphanage volunteering.
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The 2019 Resolution on the Rights of the Child was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 18 December 2019. The Resolution focuses specifically on children without parental care.
A global coalition of organisations, networks, and agencies working at national, regional and international levels on children's care worked together to propose to Member States a set of Key Recommendations to be included in the 2019 UNGA Resolution on the Rights of the Child to address key challenges and opportunities in implementing the rights of children without parental care.