Agreement paves way for creation of children’s regional councils
Children will have the opportunity to be actively involved in their community’s decision-making process through an agreement signed today between the Malta Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society, the Local Government Department and the Association for Local Councils.
The agreement paves the way for the creation of Children’s Regional Councils across the island where the perspectives of the younger citizens are addressed and considered.
Malta Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society chair Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca described the agreement as a historic step as it not only gave children a voice, but also provided the safe space for them to weigh in on decisions that impacted their lives.
“Children have unique needs and regional councils will facilitate their participation, make them more visible and empower them to speak up. There is nobody better suited to influence policies that affect children, than the children themselves and we are very happy to be collaborating with the ministry and the Association on this project,” she said.
Signed between the Malta Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society, the Local Government Department, and the Local Council Association, the agreement provides the funding and framework for these regional councils to be set up.
Local Government Minister Jose Herrera said it was a great satisfaction to form part of this process to facilitate the creation of the children’s regional councils.
“Children’s contribution to the decision-making process is an important step in ensuring our communities are strengthened, today and always,” he said.
This agreement is motivated by the core principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which asserts that children have the right to express their views freely and that adults are obliged to listen and facilitate their participation in all matters affecting them within the family, school, local communities, public services, institutions, government policy and judicial proceedings.
The aim behind this agreement is to create a safe space that enables children to have a voice, encourage them to be involved on a regional and community level, and to highlight any concerns or challenges children faced in their local community.
Through this collaboration, the Foundation will be rolling out its recently developed toolkit for child participation, which supports the concept that children and adolescents should be protected from exploitation and abuse, and provided with the appropriate fora to be informed, and consulted.