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Children in development cooperation

Children make up half the population in developing countries. Every year over 10 million die before they reach the age of 5, lacking even the most basic healthcare. Over 200 million children are forced to work, under the legal minimum age.

A place for children

The EU development Consensus acknowledges the EU's responsibility to support partner countries in upholding children's social and economic rights. The 2006 paper, Towards an EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child , laid the foundations for the EU's long-term strategy on children, which was then developed in another policy paper, A Special Place for Children in EU External Action (February 2008).

Both stress the need for more policy coordination, so that children's welfare is taken into account in all the EU's dealings with other countries through:

  • political dialogue
  • trade negotiations
  • development cooperation
  • humanitarian aid

The " Special Place for Children" communication is also introducing two new initiatives:

Action plan

The action plan on children's rights in external action identifies four main priority areas requiring action at regional and global level:

  • child labour
  • child trafficking
  • violence against children including sexual violence
  • children affected by armed conflicts

It establishes a number of principles that should guide EU action in these areas:

  • respect for children's views - children must be given an opportunity to make their views heard
  • local ownership - the EU's role is essentially to support its development partners' work to protect children's rights
  • gender equality - consideration should be given to the particular needs of girls, given their particular vulnerability to abuse and human rights infringements

Strategy on children in emergency and crisis situations

This focuses attention on:

  • children who have been separated from their parents or primary care-givers through conflict or death
  • the problem of child soldiers, including the previously neglected issue of girls associated with armed forces
  • education for children in emergencies and crises


Last update: 17/02/2012 | Top