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

By Carlo John A., National Anti Poverty Commission, Philippines :  

Theme 2
Reason 1: This statement is more of an active statement that involves the active participation of the
children to end extreme poverty. Rather than the first that is more on a passive tone. We  should bear in mind that even if the children are still at a young age, they should be part of the solution to end extreme poverty and not just considered as the beneficiaries provided by the people surrounding them. Children can make a big change in a society if given a platform that will amplify their voices.

Reason 2: The word ‘Empowering’ made this theme a strong statement. Capacitating the young ones could eventually lead to a greater future not just for them but also for the society’s future.

Action, activity
Providing interesting workshops and trainings to the children could influence them to do their best in their chosen field.

For two consecutive years, the National Anti-Poverty Commission in partnership with ATD Fourth World and National Commission for Culture and the Arts,
provided art workshop for the Children of ATD Fourth World partner communities. We aim to continue this effort in order to hone their skills in terms of expressing their feelings through art. Artworks can be a platform for the children to voice out their everyday struggles in facing extreme poverty.

By Annelies N., Utrecht Anti-Poverty Coalition, Netherlands

We talked about your letter and question with 30 people of the local coalition on poverty in Utrecht.

Theme 2
Most people like the second theme, empowering children. First, because selfesteem is an important subject for children in poverty and all people should understand better the impact of judging and social exclusion because of poverty.
One mother said we should stop giving things for free all the time, but reinforcing people to work on better structural solutions. Second, because this is a short, clear theme that needs not to much explanation and gives energy.

The first theme is important too, because adults are responsible for the environment and structures they create, children cannot be held responsible for poverty and pollution or prevalence of money instead of people and nature first.

Action, activity
In Utrecht the coalition will be 10 years around in october. We are working on a little book about the experience of poverty, not the figures but the mental consequences. We plan to have a festival again on the 17th.

It was interesting to talk about this with the coalition!

By Crispin N., ORUD Association = United National Organizations for Development, DRC

Theme 1
The reasons for choosing this theme are explained by the fact that we see the situation of children in certain environments.
Awareness-raising among all actors involved in child protection would be necessary. We have parents, teachers and educational authorities who come to the forefront of educating children without discrimination, regardless of their social status.
Secondly, in our country in the DRC, parents have lost hope because they are being massacred in another form with the problem of the payment, having street children, child domestic workers in households, children in foster care, child soldiers recruited into armed forces and groups, really inadmissible, unacceptable.

We really must take up the challenge, because the lives of African children are fully threatened, their place should be in the family and at school where they must feel much better than elsewhere.

Therefore, the well-being of children always depends on basic nutrition, clothing needs, appropriate health care and schooling with considerable support for the poorest families and households. Poverty is not inevitable, it can be changed if the latter are accompanied by some initiatives that can enable them to live even better with their children. This would allow children to experience a safe and sustainable environment throughout their journey. Unfortunately, many families in the territories have become poorer, especially in Kabare and Walungu, who do not know how to take better care of their children, so free primary education has no place here in the DRC.

Action, activity:
At our level, ORUD as a humanitarian and development organization, intends to organize visits to the poorest households and schools to find out once again about the situation of children living in the poorest families.

We conclude by recommending to all stakeholders to develop much more effective and sustainable strategies to be implemented for the benefit of orphans and vulnerable children. The first step in consolidating peace in the world is education. Also, support local NGOs that have good control over the situation of children and live with them, for the implementation of projects in their favour, such as schooling, remedial schooling, family support through income-generating activities in order to make them useful to society in the future and to feel better like any other child.

Jean M. and Astrid M., Democratic Confederation of Labour, DRC

Given the realities that children, especially the poorest in farming families, go through in order to establish respect and assurance for the promotion of the protection of the fundamental rights of the child, here is the overall objective we propose: << To establish respect and assurance for the promotion of the protection of the fundamental rights of children >>;

Action, activity:
1. Create and strengthen mechanisms to protect children in the grassroots society (family, village, etc.);
2. Organize forums for the expression of inter-communality between parents and their children, guardians;
3. Identify cultural advances and weaknesses in children, customs and habits, economic resources, etc.
4. Develop an emergency community awareness program to respect and ensure the promotion of the protection of children's human rights;
5. Identify child victims of poverty within the mechanisms created, strengthened and supported to promote the protection of children's human rights, etc.

Gaudefroi T., ATD Fourth World Madagascar

Theme 2
Reason 1: This theme presents a concrete goal "to end poverty".  It requires people involved: children themselves, parents, the individual aware of injustice, NGOs, Churches, the State, etc.

Reason 2: The child is considered a negligible population and has virtually no rights. In Madagascar, in the eyes of the law, the child has rights but it remains a slogan written in black and white in the constitution. The child has no value as a child. He is as forgotten as the teenager. He is always the victim of sexual harassment, household chores, etc. Child abuse is an opportunity for others to enrich themselves.

ATD Fourth World is a member of the Child Protection Network, and among other things, we hear representatives of public services who dare to say that it is better to close our eyes.

Support is essential based on children's rights and living together in the heart without reserve for the well-being of the child "the future of tomorrow's world".

Public services require human, material, financial resources,  to solve them; the laws are signed but they are not enforced.  

Action, activity:
-Advocacy on education and health issues, taking into account the International Convention on the Rights of the Child of 20 November 1989 and the truth of the laws adopted
-Go meet the poorest people
-Promote the street library and TAPORI: "right to be a member of an association in accordance with Article 15 of the International Convention" while involving children under 18 years of age as co-leaders.

By Martinien M. and Young Entrepreneurs Association of Bonassama, Cameroon

Theme 1

Reason 1: Ensuring the "well-being of children today" also means ensuring their "well-being". That is why any action that aims to make children safe must be thought of in a sustainable perspective, should be assessed now but also over time. This is the case, for example, of the fight against forced labour, which affects the well-being of children not only today but also later on when they become adults. It is therefore clear that what is favourable to a child's development today is also favourable in the future, hence the extreme importance of focusing on policies to ensure a safe and sustainable environment.

In third world countries in particular, where life expectancy has become relatively short, people spend more than a third of their lives in childhood and adolescence, according to the United Nations definition of a child as anyone under the age of 18. It is therefore a life cycle not to be neglected, we would even say the most important.
It would then be important to co-construct with children an enabling, supportive and appropriate environment for their engagement in poverty. Ensuring the well-being of children by guaranteeing them a safe and sustainable environment is not intended to plunge children into a state of dependency but rather to stimulate and foster a sustainable citizen dynamic.

2nd reason: The fight against child poverty necessarily implies questioning the environment in which children build their resilience to this phenomenon. It is to this end that building a safe and sustainable environment is one of the solutions to the development of children living in poverty. More concretely, this well-being encompasses all sectors of social life (education, health, culture, the environment, the family, interactions with people, etc.). Well-being can therefore be considered as a total social fact because of its multisectoral anchoring in the development and fulfilment of children.
Thus, ensuring the well-being of children by guaranteeing them a safe and sustainable environment means tackling even the social cancer of poverty by involving local actors in an inclusive and participatory approach that promotes civic and collective dynamics in improving the environment for children.

Action, activity:
* Denounce all kinds of child abuse to the public authorities and encourage all local actors through advocacy to become directly and effectively involved in the fight against poverty and misery, a real handicap to the well-being of children.
* contribute to the development of children by restoring their confidence, by offering them a space of expression on the scourges that harm their well-being, by supervising the methods of resilience that they themselves develop in the face of extreme poverty in their environment (meeting of exchanges, sharing of experience, workshops, etc.)
* Co-construct with children a healthy environment based on shared values and principles (living together and doing together) that would allow their well-being today and tomorrow (citizen mobilization in educational institutions, precarious neighbourhoods, etc.)
* To encourage more effective involvement of the family in the important role of contributing to the well-being of children by valuing family know-how.

By Régis D.M., ATD Fourth World, Haiti

Theme 1
Reason 1: This theme seems to be more appropriate because it is more consistent with the 30th anniversary of the CRC. First and foremost, it is about making children's rights a reality for all, and therefore also, and first and foremost for the most disadvantaged children, in a particularly difficult social and environmental context.

2nd reason: The second reason is negative: the choice of the first also comes from the fact that I reject the second. This one is ambiguous. Children from poor backgrounds are victims of this situation. We can of course make a statement to underline that everyone can - and must - take action against poverty. But it can also be part of the logic of current dominant thinking, based on merit: the child who will learn to "have a good (mainstream) behavior" will get away with it. It is extremely dangerous and ambiguous. In 1979, for the International Year of the Child, the ATD Fourth World movement chose as its theme or slogan "The world owes me the future". Society is responsible for the future it offers its children. And we have to fight for a changing society.

By NourAdine S., Association for the Eradication of Poverty, Tolkaram Mutual Aid of Palestine

Theme 1

By Azzedine and Manal, Al Aljwad Association

Theme 1
Reason : The abduction, abuse and rape of children have become a worrying reality in recent years in Algeria, and these abject crimes are taking on dangerous proportions. Disconcerting figures are regularly reported by the various security services. 81 kidnapping cases recorded nationwide and more than 6,000 children were the victims of violence in 2017, the physical violence of which comes first with nearly 3,661 children and more than 1,130 cases of sexual abuse. In addition to these cases, there are also cases of ill-treatment.10,000 children who were abused, including 2000 to 3000, or 20% to 30% of cases, were sexually assaulted, were recorded in 2018.

The Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights estimates that about 200,000 children work in Algeria, most of whom are under 16 years of age, which is the legal age for income-generating activities in Algeria, noting that this figure is often called for an increase to 600,000 children in Ramadan, and about 400,000 during the summer school holidays and agricultural crop harvest.

Most of them are often used as labour in illegal waste dumps, they are mainly present in dumpsites to recover items destined for recycling, thus putting their lives at risk for the modest sum of 400 DA per day. And other children behind the tables selling fruit and vegetables and bread in markets or on the roads to support their families.

Action, activity:

Awareness-raising days against violence and child abduction in collaboration with associations active in the field of children's rights (our partners) in order to raise awareness of the state's obligations and individual responsibility in terms of condemnation and prevention of violence and assistance to child victims through conferences, debates for the general public, exhibition on the theme, interventions by psychologists at the Naciria youth centre.

Presentation of the play "Stop", a play on illegal child labour that will be performed by Tapori children on October 17, 2019. The play will be followed by a debate.

By Stéphane H., Association Eau de Coco, France and Madagascar

Theme 2
Poverty, even if it is characterized by many intolerable human situations, becomes revolting when it affects children.

2nd reason: The vulnerability of children to poverty means that we must multiply our efforts to enable them to build a real adult life.

Action, activity:
We will solicit some young people from our various projects in Madagascar and ask them to pass on a message to national and international leaders about their personal situation in the face of poverty and the proposals they wish to make.