Proposition theme for October 17 2019

May 2019 - The consultation is now finished.
We have received 74 contributions from 34 countries, which have enriched the two proposals below. The contributions were presented to the United Nations in New York in April.

The United Nations theme for October 17, 2019 is:
“Acting together to empower children, their families and communities to end poverty"


The following two themes, which take into account the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 2019, have been proposed for the October 17 commemoration this year:

1 - Ensuring the well-being of children by providing a safe and sustainable environment

2 -  Empowering children to end poverty

People have been invited to answer these three questions

Question 1 : Which theme do you prefer?

Question 2 : What are the two main reasons why you prefer this theme?

Question 3 : In 2019 we will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Keeping this in mind, please tell us about one or two actions you plan to pursue, implement or undertake to support or elaborate on the theme you have chosen as your preference?


Background for the proposed themes:

The emphasis on children in the proposed themes reflects the upcoming 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) [] which was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1989.

The Convention states that everyone under the age of 18 (the definition of a child), regardless of gender, origin, religion or possible disabilities, needs special care and protection because children are often the most vulnerable. Yet, in most parts of the world we continue to witness children suffering from poverty, violence and abuse, forced labour, forced separations from their parents, and other serious social and economic deprivations.

Therefore, the proposed themes strive to address the fundamental issues of the protection of children, especially those living in poverty, and their empowerment as agents of change. In particular, the proposals attempt to highlight (a) the need to provide children a safe and sustainable environment where they can attain their full potential; and (b) that the empowering of children, and the protection of their human rights, is crucial to ending poverty everywhere.

The emphasis on children in poverty provides important opportunities to involve children and children's movements, such as Tapori, and to highlight their contributions to ending extreme poverty.

For your reference:

The following UN bodies are examining these themes in 2019:
- High Level Political Forum's theme is “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality” in 2019;
- The sixty-third session of the Commission on the Status of Women in 2019 has the priority theme: “Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls”

70 comments for this discussion

Mackenson S.F., Apromec, Association for the promotion of the environment and culture, Haiti

Theme 1
Considering the preamble and the content of the articles of the so-called "International Convention on the Rights of the Child", we agreed on Theme 1

The two main reasons that led us to focus on this theme are:
-Ensuring the well-being of children by guaranteeing them a safe and sustainable environment summarizes, despite all possible constraints, an opportunity we offer them to succeed in their lives and to provide their support for the well-being of humanity without any discrimination. And, this will allow them to open up to the world from the moment they have felt and fulfilled in a protective environment.
-Among other things, ensuring the well-being of children also means being in action for a better quality of life. And providing them with a safe and sustainable space or environment also means enabling them to act themselves for their well-being and for the benefit of all humanity, which is why we chose theme 1.

Actions, activities
Ensure the continuity of our activities on awareness raising on the respect of rights, protection and safeguarding in accordance with the International Convention on the Rights of the Child through our cultural activities related to the environment.
Here is a partial list of our activities for this year:
-Establishment of a Reading Club;
-Excursion in the mountain;
-Visit Wynne Farm, an ecological farm;
-Setting up an artistic creation workshop Visual and plastic arts and waste recycling;

Samuel M., Moy H., Martin S., Francis H., Zambia

Theme 1:
it is adults who have allowed the current state of the environment and need to take responsibility for making it safer for children and sustainable for everyone. Unless we protect the natural systems which provide humanity’s basic needs, there is no point in working for human rights alone. Children are dependent on adults for their basic needs. Many Child Rights require a sustainable environment before children can exercise those rights.

Theme 2:
children have a better opportunity of ending poverty since their minds are open to new insights and knowledge. Somehow adults have already become set in a culture/mindset allowing poverty to continue which they might find it hard to change. Children are in the unique position of being able to transform their parents/adults.
The earlier the children are trained to take responsibility for ending poverty, the easier it  will be in future when they will be in control. Most societies got transformed when children were offered their rights to education when they were young.

Actions, activities
-Awareness-raising and education on SDGs & UN international days on human rights for local school,
Teachers College, youth group and Climate-Change clubs in Mongu, western Zambia.
-Then involving some of those children and youth in tree-planting; head of household in chicken, fish
and vegetable production to reduce the need to buy foodstuffs.
-Run workshops for children and young adults in healthy and safe lifestyles so as to reduce substance abuse, sexual promiscuity and early/teenage marriage.

-I work at Mongu Catholic Teachers Training college. We will brainstorm with the teachers and students on various alternatives for ending poverty in Western Province, Zambia and hopefully the students will keep teaching kids about how to end poverty when they graduate and are teaching in school.
-Also talk to kids in Sunday Schools or nearby schools about practical ways of ending poverty.

Sophie B., ATD Fourth World, Bolivia

Theme 2
The theme is shorter, it acts to fight against poverty. But in both cases, there is a lack of connection with the family, because the children are in a family and if the child lives in poverty, the family experiences poverty too.
Maybe it's in the theme that we need to add the family, maybe it's in the presentation text of the theme.

It is also for this reason that I do not like theme 1, because we understand that parents do not watch over the well-being of their children and that there exist good poor and bad poor.

Charo C. ATD Fourth World Cusco, Peru:

Theme 2
-Poverty affects childhood in different ways, its effects can not be measured with one motive. A society that does not care about it condemns its own future and limits itself to ensuring that only those who already have an assured life reach the fullness of their human development.
-We must work to develop real public policies that reduce inequalities between citizens.

Line M., Action Table Against Poverty in Estrie, Canada

Theme 2:
-Poverty among children has impacts on social, economic and physical and psychological health.
- In a poor family, children are the first victims and they reproduce what they have experienced.

Action, Activity
Press conference on October 17th with ex. a chain of children with cartons showing basic needs or visual with banners.

ATD Fourth World Guatemala

Theme 2
1st reason: In the twenty-first century there are children who ignore their rights and duties. It is important to change that, to support their access to rights so that they can have the means to act for their future.

2nd reason: Girls and boys are the past and the present, remembering what was done in the past is important because we learn from the efforts made. But it is good to review what was not achieved and ask ourselves why children do not act or expresses, why there are still people living in poverty. It is a duty to support children to find their spaces of peace and harmony and from those spaces they can act to end poverty.

Action, activities
Street Libraries is an action that allows us to be with children and from there create games, recreational dynamics and reflection.
What we could think of is to create spaces for children to meet at ATD Fourth World in order to empower their rights and duties, and to seek an empowerment to exist through a space of peace and harmony.

Tapori animators and some children, Burkina Faso:

It is important to us that there are other young people who are interested in Tapori activities. Action makes more sense within the community if it allows others to be mobilized. It allows them to take responsibility in their neighbourhood.
Here is the answer of a young man, Adama, regarding what motivates him in Tapori animations: "What motivates me to come to the animations is the concern I have within me to be able to support my little sisters and brothers to become builders of Burkina Faso. If we young people can come and participate, it motivates other children who have difficulty coming. Since I have been here, I have realized that children have learned things they didn't know about the right to housing in our neighbourhood and the right to education. But also, when children get together, they have fun, learn things together and create a friendship that is a lasting peace between them. To support children, I intend to explore the issue of education through friendship and understanding between children."

The interviews with the children focused on two topics: the right to housing and education:
-Alassane: "For me, living in an undeveloped neighbourhood for a long time is not a good thing. There are also children who find themselves on the street because at home they don't have a place to sleep. There are many children in our neighbourhood who do not go to school. Their parents do not have the means."
-Bashirou: "We live in undeveloped areas. We have fathers who can build brick houses, but they are afraid that one day they will be driven out and their houses broken. In our neighbourhood there are many children who do not go to school. It's not good for their future.
-Fatoe: "It's not good that a child doesn't go to school, it can lead him to steal and when you become a thief it's not good".
-Wilfred: "There are children who, due to the poverty of their families, refuse to go to school. They walk around the neighborhood begging or stealing from people. Not going to school allows them to earn money to help their parents.

Action, activity:
Enjoy a friendship camp at the Guinkouma school on knowledge sharing (drawing, painting, puppet, etc.). The Tapori will meet with other children at the Guinkouma school and other children from the neighbourhood who are living in different or even difficult situations. This camp will conclude with an exhibition of the children's achievements. It will be a question of inviting certain people (personalities, parents, certain adults) to come and learn about the achievements of children, and listen to their messages on the rights and responsibilities of the child. The objective of this camp is to show the community that art is a tool for the harmonious and psychological development of children. Art is an educational tool and stimulates the spirit of creativity in children.

Janet Nelson, ATD Fourth World, Geneva, Switzerland

Theme 1
I have a concern about the 2nd theme, "Supporting Children to Take Action Against Poverty."  This title implies that children can eradicate poverty, which is not the case. They can take action around them, but without policies at the national level - policies of tax justice and social protection, investments in health and education services - poverty will never end."  

So in my opinion, this theme should be modified, if it is the one chosen: “Empowering children to become agents of change against poverty”, “Empowering children to overcome poverty" (what can be understood as personal success, what we do not want), “Empowering children to participate in the fight against poverty,” etc.

I prefer the first theme, because the main responsibility for the well-being of children remains that of adults. And in the activities and presentations that will be prepared around the first theme, it seems to me that we can highlight the fact that an environment that is "safe" is an environment in which a child feels emotionally as well as physically safe - therefore an environment in which he or she will not be abused by being removed from his or her family.

Cristof H., Heidelberger Bündnis, Germany

Theme 1
Reason 1 : The topic is currently discussed all over the world, e.g. by "Fridays for Future". Sustainable development is - on all levels: social, ecological, economic - an essential basis for a future worth living.

Reason 2: Heidelberg is a relatively rich city, and yet there are many children and young people here who do not share in this wealth. Sustainable development will be the basis for good coexistence in the city.

Action, activity
Concrete events are not yet planned, but organisations such as the Child Protection League, Caritas and Diakonie always have special activities on this topic. We are again planning a whole week of action from 13 to 20 October.

Mario S., Social Pastoral Delegate of the Jesuits for Latin America and the Caribbean, Peru

Theme 1:
1st reason: It is the responsibility of adults alone to ensure the well-being of children.

2nd Reason: Although it is necessary to ensure the participation of the children's sector that already has some capacity to act, it is not for children to act against poverty and for adults to support. This is primarily the responsibility of adults.

Actions or activities:
I don't have anything planned yet. But now that it is up to me to animate the social work of the Jesuits for Latin America and the Caribbean, I will encourage the theme to be taken into account in the actions for this year and the following year.