Children from 43 countries address the UN: “Education is more important than ever before”
Today, 80 children and young people from 43 different countries speak to the leaders of the world at the Children’s General Assembly summit in Denmark. With a unified voice, they call for a strengthened focus on education to solve global issues. And access to schools is not enough. UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth agrees that children should have their voices heard on current issues.
We need better education to solve the issues that threaten our existence. That is the message from the 80 delegates of the Children’s General Assembly 2022, when they present a manifesto to the leaders of the world at a summit in Billund, Denmark, today. The manifesto is the result of a six-month process, in which the delegates, all between the ages of 10 and 17, have developed their common recommendations on actions to solve the most critical global problems.
“Education gives us the tools to engage in society, to battle inequality, to counter injustice. And to take on the common responsibility of creating change. Unfortunately, education is still not a given in many regions of the world,” says Hesara Chandrasiri, 15, from Singapore, one of the delegates presenting the manifesto on behalf of all the children, with a call to action to members of the UN General Assembly. “We need your help to ensure that schools are not only accessible. The schools of the future need to provide the ultimate sense of security.”
In their manifesto, the delegates call for global safe space education – free from censorship, misinformation, discrimination, and violence.
Praise from UN
The efforts of the delegates are met with praise from UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake.
“You should never wait for an invitation. You should always take initiative and you should always take action. So far the education system has been so focused on adults deciding what is good for young people. Giving a voice to young people, putting them at the center of educational conversations and decision making is a step I think we can take to achieve SDG* 4 and the targets under it”, says Jayathma Wickramanayake.
Passed on to the world’s top leaders at the UN General Assembly
The Manifesto as well as the idea catalog developed by the delegates will be forwarded to the heads of state at the UN General Assembly, which will take place in New York a few days later.
Before presenting their manifesto at the summit, the 80 delegates participating from 16 different time zones and from all continents have met and collaborated in 10 digital workshops to address topics such as quality education, civic engagement, and climate change. The process has been organized by the Capital of Children, Billund, Denmark.