12 August 2020 - Global

Children take centre stage at HLPF

The coronavirus pandemic has both shone a light on and exacerbated the challenges that young people around the world face every day.

If we are to ensure every child survives, learns and stays safe during the pandemic and beyond, it must be with the voices and demands of young people at the centre. It is children themselves who know what they want and need, and it is their right to be heard.

Earlier this summer, Save the Children hosted a number of events at the UN’s High Level Political Forum (HLPF), an annual meeting focused on the Sustainable Development Goals. Children and young people took centre stage. They told us about their experience.

Precious, Zambia

Pictured above

“Taking part in the HLPF was a very wonderful experience that am very grateful for because I was given an opportunity to engage with world leaders.

In our country and many parts of the world, children do not have such opportunities.

Voicing out my opinion at such a platform knowing fully well that am being heard was overwhelming. The sad part might be that not many children have such opportunities and for this reason we tend to feel vulnerable and left out. My plea is that we give children platforms to exercise their right to speak and be heard." 

Oaikya, Bangladesh

The highlight of the event for me was as a child, talking to children in other parts of the world, sharing my opinions with them, getting to know their opinions was a wonderfully fun learning experience for me.

I got to understand the conditions of various young girls from different countries of the world directly from them, and I was also able to discuss about our condition.

Another major highlight for me was the warm and sincere behaviour of the Ambassador Madam.

I told her about some of the difficulties of the girls of Bangladesh face in regards to access to quality education, and physical and harmful punishment, as well as our aspirations.

She listened to me very seriously and promised that she would talk to the responsible authorities about our issues. This made the meaning of the whole HLPF got much more impactful for me.”

Kamuti, Zambia

“My experience was wonderful as I did not imagine myself speaking at a forum that big.

I felt so empowered to have been part of the HLPF.

Therefore I call on governments, stakeholders and key players around the world to consider children in the decision making process on matters that affect them. Children are important key players in the world decision making process and therefore they must be treated as such.

My call to the world leaders is that more platforms for us the children and youth be created for the betterment of humanity." 

Zahra, Indonesia

“I was very grateful to be able to share my concerns about fulfilling children's rights, especially related to gender equality and ending child marriage in my country to the world leaders.

I felt nervous in the beginning but when I raised a question to the Ambassadors and they responded nicely I felt confident.

I remember one of the Ambassador response was all children must fight for their rights. We do not need to be a superstar to claim our rights, but we can start by doing small things, building networks and discuss together on what we want to see in the near future.”

Marly, Colombia

“I will always remember the feeling of knowing that many important people were listening to me, such as the Minister of Education of Colombia and others, and that they were also paying attention to the important things I was going to say.

On the same day as I took part in the event, I shared my experience with my family and friends. Everyone congratulated me or said "Wow, really?”.

I think that I said what had to be said. Knowing that the Minister of Education of Colombia listened to me makes me think that the government can make good decisions. Because how do you solve something if you do not know about it?”

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