“By protecting children from poverty and promoting their well-being, a society can break the cycle of disadvantage. This commitment to children and equity is even more necessary in times of crisis”, said Philippe Cori, Director of the UNICEF EU Office in Brussels.
Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General of Eurochild stresses that “we urge EU Member States to act now. Child poverty rates have reached peaks of 40% in some EU countries, and millions of children and families are struggling to make ends meet.”
Today, Eurochild, EAPN and UNICEF, under the patronage of the Irish Presidency of the EU, are organising a high-profile political roundtable and seminar titled “Taking action to fight child poverty and to promote child well-being”, to discuss and strategise on the implementation of the European Commission’s Recommendation at Member States level2.
“Children, their families and society as a whole – cannot afford that the Recommendation turns out to be a paper exercise. Investing in children is investing in a better future: research has proven that making appropriate investments to prevent child poverty today will reduce healthcare and social protection costs in the future” said Sian Jones, Policy Coordinator of EAPN.
What is child poverty?
EAPN and Eurochild take the opportunity of this major event to launch their Explainer “Towards Children’s Well-Being in the EU“, which aims to raise public awareness on child poverty in Europe and on the devastating effects it has on lives of children and families as well as on society as a whole. The Explainer challenges the myths around child poverty, provides arguments and concrete solutions at EU, national, local and individual levels to help stakeholders mobilize around the implementation of the European Commission Recommendation.
What’s the situation of well-being in the different EU countries?
UNICEF is also launching today the UNICEF Report Card 11 – “Child well-being in rich countries. A comparative overview”. As debates in the EU continue to generate strongly opposed views on the pros and cons of austerity measures and social spending cuts, Report Card 11 charts the achievements of 29 of the world’s advanced economies, including 27 EU member states, in ensuring the well-being of their children during the first decade of this century. This international comparison, says the report, proves that child poverty in these countries is not inevitable, but policy susceptible – and that some countries are doing much better than others at protecting their most vulnerable children.
Note for the Editors:
1) Event “Taking action to fight child poverty and to promote child well-being”
Launch of UNICEF Report Card ‘Child well-being in rich countries. A comparative overview’, roundtable discussion and capacity-building seminar organised by Eurochild, the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) and UNICEF in association with the Irish Presidency of the Council of EU (and national partners), 10-11 April, Dublin, Ireland.
Through a series of events, including a roundtable discussion and interactive seminar to support the mobilization of national stakeholders, co-hosted by the Children’s Rights Alliance, EAPN Ireland and UNICEF Ireland, the organisers aim to support the implementation of the European Commission Recommendation and gather political commitment to make concrete progress on reducing child poverty and promoting child-well-being in EU member states.
See the Programme here. To follow the event on Twitter use #childpoverty2013
2) UNICEF Report Card 11 – Child well-being in rich countries. A comparative overview
UNICEF’s Report Cards provide a mirror to industrialized countries on how children are faring in their societies, and present a wide range of measures of progress. The stance is one of using internationally accepted and comparative data to elucidate patterns and make clear the potential of policy to improve child well-being.
Report Card 11 is a story of progress in many dimensions, with some good news in surprising areas, but also captures trends that are worrying and need early and sustained national policy attention. For the first time, the Report Card is able to go back and make a comparison – albeit in a more restrictive set of dimensions – with the 2007 Report Card 7. Report Card 11 also includes an relevant section on how children see their own lives.
3) EAPN and Eurochild Explainer on Child Poverty: Towards Children’s Well Being in the EU
This Explainer wants to raise public awareness about what child poverty means in a European context, its causes, and how it impacts on the lives of children and their families.
It highlights effective solutions that can help to fight child poverty and promote the well-being of all children and families, particularly in times of austerity and public spending cuts.
4) European Commission Recommendation
The recent European Commission’s Recommendation “Investing in Children: Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage” – was adopted on 20 February 2013 as part of the Social Investment Package for Growth and Cohesion (SIP). It provides guidance to Member States on how to tackle child poverty and promote children’s well-being. It also sets up a common EU framework based on the recognition of children as rights holders.
A positive EU framework for cooperation and political leadership can and does make a difference to policy making at national and regional level. Action by Member States is now required.
5) Eurochild assessment of the Recommendation
Eurochild’s assessment unwraps the Recommendation’s principles and translates them into policies and practices. Furthermore, it highlights opportunities for civil society organisations, to act at national and regional policy making level, using the tools and mechanisms available through the EU to influence and persuade governments where they can make the greatest difference to children’s lives.
6) Organisation: Eurochild
Eurochild is a network of organisations and individuals working in and across Europe to improve the quality of life of children and young people. Eurochild relates its work to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. 147 organisations from 35 European countries are members of Eurochild (113 full and 34 associate members).
The fight against child poverty is a priority for Eurochild. The “End Child Poverty” campaign in 2010 was the starting point for lobbying the European Union to elaborate the Recommendation on child poverty. The mission was accomplished this February. Now the concern is about the implementation of the Recommendation into national and regional policy and practice.
7) Organisation: European Anti-Poverty Network
The European Ant-Poverty Network (EAPN) is an independent network of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and groups involved in the fight against poverty and social exclusion in the Member States of the European Union, established in 1990.At present, EAPN is a network of 29 national networks of voluntary organisations and grassroots groups and 18 European organisations.
EAPN aims to put the fight against poverty high on the agenda of the EU and to ensure cooperation at EU level aimed at the eradication of poverty and social exclusion.
8) Organisation: UNICEF
UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.
In addition to UNICEF’s global presence, UNICEF is also represented in 22 EU Member States by UNICEF National Committees who are serving as the public face and dedicated voice of UNICEF and promote children’s rights within their own country.
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 20 Feb 2013: European Commission, Recommendation “Investing in Children: Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage”. http://www.ec.europa.eu/social/BlobServlet?docId=9762&langId=en Read more below in the Notes to the Editors.
 “Taking action to fight child poverty and to promote child well-being”,10-11 April 2013, Dublin, Ireland. Read more below in the Notes to the Editors.