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

Rosa P., ATD Fourth World, Guatemala

Theme 1:
1st reason: It seems to me to be a clearer objective because it speaks of well-being, of a safe environment, and who and from where should we guarantee this? Well, we adults from where we are, from where we act, this is everyone's responsibility, regardless of our socio-cultural position.

2n reason: The sustainability communicates a co-responsibility from and with the means we have. But above all, to have the strength of will to act in favour of children.

Actions or activities:
We have just started a project with parents where there will be spaces to explore about childhood in the midst of disadvantaged contexts.

By ATD Fourth World Poland

Theme 2
The second topic is closer to us because it speaks of strengthening and enabling the development of skills and competences that children already have. It imposes an obligation on us - adults to listen to children before we "invent" how to care for them.

Reason 2: According to us, "empowering" is also the work of people in the environment of children and young people to offer a favorable environment (natural and social). The second theme underlines the more active role of children and encourages us to learn from them.

Jan Ś., ATD Fourth World, Poland

Theme 1
Reason 1: The children need good conditions for development, for becoming a person who can profit from the human development at 100 %. To ensure human rights for adults we need in the same time to ensure human rights for children.

Reason 2: There is still a big necessity to make the environment for children safe, to make the conditions where they feel good and calm, without having the “adults” troubles, such as how to find food or where to sleep tomorrow.

By Augustin K.A., Association CADELUP = Actions Centre for the Development and Fight against Poverty, Benin

Theme 2
We met twice in an extraordinary session, composed of 30 people.

Two main reasons:
-For a truly better tomorrow, we must teach schoolchildren to fight poverty through education, instruction, training and awareness. (this is the age range from 5 to 17 years old)
-We also justify our choice by the name of our Association CADELUP "Actions Centre for the Development and Fight against Poverty". The notion of work and work well done will be developed at any useful time. For us, the great weapon in the fight against poverty is work. For this age group, it is school work.

Actions, activities:
Activities desired in October 2019 if we find the appropriate financial resources.
-Invite students to visit more of our Jean-Jacques Rousseau Community Library in Bohicon
-Organisation of reader competitions, competitions in French through dictation-questions
-Organize prize distribution sessions for schoolchildren and students.

By Christian R., Marie Reine A., Saleh K.A, "Guterera Intererano Youth", Burundi

Marie Reine A. chose theme 2:
I have chosen this theme because it is more achievable than the first one but also there will be much more lasting and direct consequences on children who are the hope of all humanity.

The actions I propose: awareness raising

Saleh K.A. chooses theme 1:
Children are today the hope of humanity. However, investing in youth, and especially children, is a sure way to improve the conditions and quality of life in our communities. However, this will only be possible if and only if they evolve in a healthy and favorable environment, which will positively influence their being.

In addition, children are often victims of social and political disorders and are exposed to the risks that result from them. It would therefore be essential for society to turn its attention to children and their social well-being.

Activities planned: Visits to centres for vulnerable children, activities by local children's groups, radio programmes on topics relating to children's rights.

Christian R.M. chose theme 1:
We must not simply meet the needs of the present without thinking about future generations. Today many children are neglected and abandoned in the hands of the armed forces in many countries of the world, their well-being is not assured, they live in an unstable environment that destroys them psychologically, mentally and even physically.

Proposed activity:
Combat the integration of children into the armed forces and ensure quality education for all children without exception.

Soledad O., ATD Fourth World Bolivia

Theme 2:
1st Reason: Because I feel that the first theme is a bit limiting, and precisely October 17 reaches people who do not know about ATD Fourth World and its fight against poverty, so the second theme seems to me to be broader and more appropriate.

2nd Reason: Because the meaning of the second theme is deeper than the first one, to fight poverty you definitely not only need a safe and sustainable environment, but it is much more than that and the terms to empower, support children, (in every sense) is necessary to act against poverty.

Actions or activities:
In the Bolivia team we have not yet planned the actions of October 17, but as soon as we have them ready we will not hesitate to send them to you. But on the other hand I have a great ambition of power commemorating October 17 with a group of people in Argentina. And I think it would be a great opportunity to find teachers from two schools that work with children.

By Nathalie B., ATD Fourth World Guatemala

Theme 1
1st Reason: Because childhood does not exist without its environment and the role of the family and the community can be touched upon.

2nd Reason: I like the word sustainable, because to talk about children is to talk about allowing them a future and I think about the importance of roots.

Actions or activities:
Here in Guatemala we will have meetings with adults to develop the theme and I think it is very important that we allow children and young people to participate as well. We will put it as a theme for the Street Library, for example.

We tried to develop Tapori and it would be a very good opportunity to include the groups.

Father Antonio G.P., USA

I have read the proposals on the subject of the Rights of the Child in some detail, and I sincerely believe that more than anything else we must talk about the defense of the family, since that is where the rights of every child are fully developed.
As long as the issue of the family is not seriously considered, the rights of children will always be violated; and while it is true that the state and society have to do their own work, without the family unit and what they mean, there will be no greater guarantee for the defense of children's rights.

Let us always continue to work for the most vulnerable in society.

By Cecilia L., Losano Foundation, Argentina

Theme 2
1st Reason: The two options as proposed in the introduction are related, both point to the same objective. But to focus on children as agents of change, giving them a leading role in social projects, for us as a foundation meant strengthening them in all their learning capacities and initiatives, in the social situation they are inserted in. In their families, neighbourhoods and schools, as spaces for development and transformation. The children and adolescents, in all the projects we have worked on, have surprised us with their commitment, will and desire to change their reality. They are the ones who have defined, in so many cases, the steps to follow in each project. It was their capacity and initiative that marked the way forward.  

2nd motive: 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 first and foremost the responsibility of adults.

Actions or activities:
The bakery project for adolescents in the Luciernaga institution is currently being developed. This project of training and strengthening of the adolescents, meant an enormous economic and social impulse for the institution. They are the same children trained by professionals in bakery who offer the children the snack baked by themselves and also selling to families and the neighborhood, thus enabling a new income for the institution. Today, several of those children who were trained in the workshop are working in bakeries and shops in the area. They have a formal job, were able to overcome drug addictions in so many cases and have a full life of development. They grew up and led the institution in which they participate to grow.

This year begins working with teenagers to finish high school at San Martín School. It is a project focused on logotherapy and led by two psycho-pedagogues who have been working in the school for some time. An integral and systemic work is proposed together with the directors and families from the logotherapy from work experiences of a Colombian university. It is expected to work with adolescents and their often complicated reality to finish school. Education as the central axis and fundamental right of children.

By Josh Cezar S., Children sector, National Anti Poverty Commission, Philippines

Theme 2
Reason 1: With the integration of information technology within our society, we must concede to the fact that information can now be obtained anytime and anywhere within the palm of our hands. Children are getting exposed to these kinds of technology in such an early age so for us to create a generation that is not only tech-savvy, we must empower them also to be socially aware and conscious on what is really happening around them. Our children are our future, therefore, the paternal role of the State to nurture and develop them into upstanding citizens of our nation must be extended to the most vulnerable sector of all: the children.

Reason 2: Theme 1 has an underlying tone that children are reduced to receiver of the actions or policies undertaken for their welfare. Again, we must acknowledge the fact that children can also voice out and speak about their issues and concerns regarding their situations, etc. Theme 1’s message that we, the adults, must be held accountable on the growth and nourishment of children is commendable, however, it leaves out space for children themselves to undertake/suggest actions that they see fit to be beneficial for their best interests.

NOTE: Personally, I would prefer to see the merger of the messages of the two themes.

Action, activity:
-Media and Information Literacy camps (including topics in, but not limited to, responsible use of social media, games, etc.) for children aged 8 – 17, with the level and depth of discussion on the topic will be age-restricted.
-For adults/government/NGOs, national assessment and monitoring of the effectivity and implementation of child protection policies (particularly, the compliance of Local Government Units to the enactment of Children’s Code in their respective Areas of Responsibility, mechanisms, and structures (functionality of Local Councils for the Protection of Children, etc.).