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The right to be heard – Child participation: a foundation for democratic societies

Recommendation 2218 (2022)

Parliamentary Assembly
Assembly debate on 24 January 2022 (2nd sitting) (see Doc. 15435, report of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development, rapporteur: Baroness Doreen E. Massey). Text adopted by the Assembly on 24 January 2022 (2nd sitting).
1. The Parliamentary Assembly refers to its Resolution 2414 (2022) “The right to be heard – Child participation: a foundation for democratic societies” and to its Resolution 2415 (2022) “Inaction on climate change – a violation of children's rights”.
2. The Assembly is convinced that considering children’s views on any decisions affecting their lives is an essential precondition for building democratic societies. The Council of Europe should further strengthen its support to member States to promote systematic, effective and inclusive child participation.
3. The Assembly notes that a solid foundation for promoting child participation is provided by Council of Europe instruments, such as the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities’ Recommendation 128 (2003) on the revised European Charter on the Participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life; the Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1864 (2009) “Promoting the participation by children in decisions affecting them”; and the Committee of Ministers Recommendation CM/Rec(2012)2 on the participation of children and young people under the age of 18 and Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)7 on the Council of Europe Charter on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education.
4. The Assembly highlights that the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development acknowledges children’s right to participation as an essential part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The Council of Europe should make full use of the current impetus and intensify its work on child participation.
5. The Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers:
5.1 support the effective implementation of the Council of Europe Strategy for the Rights of the Child (2022-2027), as an essential framework for the development, protection and promotion of the rights of the child;
5.2 continue to promote synergies on the rights of the child and child participation with the institutions of the United Nations and of the European Union, including the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Committee of the Regions, associating the Assembly where appropriate, and assess together what joint action on child participation could be useful;
5.3 give high priority to child participation in the framework of the review of the implementation of the Council of Europe Charter on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education;
5.4 set up an intersectoral panel comprised of representatives of relevant committees and monitoring bodies, including from the Assembly, to review, assess and co-ordinate Council of Europe action on child participation (including child safeguarding), and make recommendations for further development, with a view to mainstreaming meaningful and effective child participation across the Organisation.