Indeed, we can call this the children’s High Level Political Forum - SRSG Najat Maalla M'jid

New York, 15 July 2019 - SRSG Najat Maalla M’jid opened a High Level Political Forum "of very special relevance", with SDGs 4, 8, 10 and 16 under review. These goals directly affect the realization of the rights of children to the best start in life, an education of good quality and a childhood free from violence, abuse and neglect, while ensuring that no child is left behind.

“There are disturbing trends and emerging challenges that threaten the gains that have been made for children in recent years, including climate change, long-term conflicts and more severe humanitarian disasters, increasing migration, gender discrimination, child poverty and social disparities. To overcome these challenges and to accelerate progress for children at greatest risk of being left behind it is crucial that specific child rights obligations in these areas are respected and fulfilled by all States in their national planning and implementation of the 2030 Agenda”, said SRSG Maalla M’jid.

In her statement, SRSG Maalla M’jid highlighted the call made by the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in the foreword of the report Keeping the promise: ending violence against children by 2030, that will be launched this week, that "violence against children is not inevitable. By placing children at the heart of the 2030 Agenda, and at the centre of all that we do, we can realize its ambitious vision, while leaving no child behind."

Launch of call for action Justice4Children and NGO events
In different meetings in the context of the HLPF, Dr. Maalla M’jid underlined that the global review process of the High Level Political Forum must play a central role in promoting the implementation, follow‐up and review of the Agenda to ensure that children’s rights are protected and realized.

On 11 July, the Justice for Children global initiative launched a Call to Action to place children at the heart of justice in every nation of the world, at the United Nations. The work led by project director Professor Jennifer Davidson, Executive Director of the University of Strathclyde Institute for Inspiring Children’s Futures, in collaboration with many outstanding internationally-recognised partners, including the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Violence against Children and the Child Justice Advocacy Group, with Terre des hommes and Defence for Children International. 

SRSG Maalla M'jid is also championing the Call: "Countless children involved with the justice system have a history of exposure to violence. In many states, the justice system is still not child-sensitive and used as a substitute to weak or non-existent child protection systems, leading to the stigmatisation, criminalisation and deprivation of liberty of children, including those who are the most vulnerable and disadvantaged, those living or working on the street, and those who have fled home as a result of poverty, armed conflicts, humanitarian disasters and violence


High-level bilateral meetings
In her first week in office, SRSG Maalla M’jid met with Executive Director of UNICEF, Henrietta Fore to discuss ways to enhance collaboration between the agency and her office, namely in the initiatives leading up to the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, celebrated in November this year.  In a bilateral meeting with Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly Rapporteur, Baroness Doreen E. Massey, SDG implementation and the Council of Europe’s work to end violence against children in a region where it is estimated that 1 in 5 children is a victim of sexual violence, was on the agenda.


Working with children from Chile to Indonesia
A group of children from different regions met with SRSG Maalla M’jid to share their activities in the community, to express their concerns, passions and views. Violence remains a top priority for children, as does migration, climate change, and harmful practices, like child marriage. SRSG Maalla M'jid renewed the commitment iof the mandate to to support child participation activities which are "indispensable for the promotion of advocacy and awareness raising initiatives, and for peer education towards violence elimination; to help to enhance understanding of the magnitude of violence, and of risk and vulnerability factors, and to support the promotion of child sensitive counselling and reporting mechanisms."