‘You must work, we must all work, to make the world worthy of its children’, EU Ambassador David Geer told the pupils of North Macedonia, as he addressed them on the occasion of World Children’s Day.
Symbolically, pupils also this year ‘took over’ the government building in Skopje to demand a better quality and inclusive education, to point at the difficulties they are facing during the pandemic, and to express their concern with climate changes. Pupils held the government podium while officials, including Ambassador Geer, participated through video conference links.
Ambassador Geer stated that education needs to equip young people with the skills necessary to participate in a rapidly changing job market while promoting creativity and innovation and preparing them to adjust to new realities - something that is a challenge everywhere in Europe. ‘But for any of this to work, you, the young people, must be on board from the very beginning’, he underlined.
On the eve of 20 November, the date when in 1989 the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, the Delegation building lit up blue as a symbolic gesture of the EU commitment to advance the rights of children.
‘This year has shown more than ever how crises disrupt children´s lives, no matter which country they live in”, reads the joint statement by the EU High Representative Josep Borrell and the European Commission to mark this day. ‘The Coronavirus pandemic and its socio-economic consequences are having a serious and potentially long-term impact on children’s learning, well-being, development and protection’, remarks the statement.
In response to the increased number of reported online child sexual abuse cases during the pandemic, the EU adopted in July the ‘EU Strategy for a more effective fight against child sexual abuse’. Moreover, the ‘EU Strategy on the rights of the child’, to be adopted in spring 2021, “will address challenges that emerged from the pandemic, propose actions to strengthen child participation, protection and promotion of the rights of the child at all levels in this new changing world”. In addition, under the newly adopted ‘EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2020-2024’, the EU is funding numerous actions and initiatives to promote, protect and fulfil the rights of children worldwide.