SRSG Maalla M’jid commends Andorra for sustained investment in child protection and wellbeing, and strong culture of meaningful child participation.

Andorra, 14 June 2023 – On her first visit to Andorra, Special Representative Maalla M'jid praised the country for adopting an integrated and cross-sectoral approach to child protection and wellbeing, and for fostering a strong culture of meaningful child participation.

The mission, co-organized with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, provided a timely occasion to meet with the Head of Government, Mr. Xavier Espot, ministers and representatives of municipalities; parliamentarians; officials with responsibilities related to children’s protection and wellbeing; children and young people; and civil society organizations. The Special Representative also undertook site visits covering a range of social services provided to children.

The Special Representative welcomed the implementation of The National Plan of Action on Children and Adolescents 2023-2026 as a crucial framework for coordinating efforts to safeguard children's rights and ensure their protection across all sectors - education, health, police, justice, social welfare and finance -  at central and municipal levels. The Special Representative acknowledged the commendable efforts, including two protocols aimed at immediate action to identify suspicions of physical and sexual abuse of children and adolescents (PAI) and the prevention of risk situations (PAS), employing a two-tier system of primary and specialized interventions.

“Andorra can be an exemplar and a reference in the field of child protection. Child protection and wellbeing goes beyond social sectors and sustained investment makes economic sense. It requires a child rights-centered, whole-of- government and whole-of-society approach,” highlighted Dr. Maalla M’jid.

Moreover, the Special Representative commended the strong culture of meaningful child participation at the municipal level, exemplified by the functioning of children's councils in all seven parishes of Andorra. She praised the way the children are empowered, informed, and involved in decision-making processes.

In Sant Julià de Lòria the Special Representative attended the closing session of the children’s council, where children presented their costed proposals on the renovation of a park which were approved and funded by the Commune, a remarkable approach and a promising practice for other countries to follow.

During the meetings with key stakeholders several important issues related to the mental health of children, bullying in schools and cyberbullying were discussed. Faced with these multiple challenges, representatives of the Government highlighted their ongoing efforts to address all forms of violence in all settings, including bullying and mental health, among other issues.

The visit concluded with jointly identified priority areas for further investment in child protection, mental health and psychosocial support services, to ensure a continuum of care, protection and assistance to children and their caregivers before, during and after crisis intervention.