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Council of Europe: Assessing Child Participation in Italy, Bulgaria, and Latvia

Representatives from governments and NGOs as well as two young people have recently met at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg to discuss child participation in Italy, Bulgaria and Latvia. The three countries have volunteered to evaluate the level and quality of children’s participation at national level based on the Council of Europe Child Participation Assessment Tool.

The meeting follows the Council of Europe Recommendation on participation of children and young people under the age of 18, which has been developed to recognise and respect Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (Respect for the Views of the Child).  It covers the child’s right to be heard in all settings, whether personal (within the family, at school, in the community) or institutional (at regional, national and European level).

This Child Participation Assessment Tool uses ten specific and measurable indicators to measure the progress of the implementation of the Recommendation. The tool was piloted first in three European States -  Estonia, Ireland and Romania - and with its help governments hope to ensure that children and young people can exercise their right to be heard, to be taken seriously and to participate in decision making in all matters affecting them. The meeting in Strasbourg will kick off a 12-month process allowing the three countries (Italy, Bulgaria and Latvia) to undertake a baseline assessment of the implementation of children’s right to be heard.