Conference and Network Assembly focus on Research Capacity Building
The recent Children's Rights at a Cross-Roads conference gathered child rights and research experts from all across the world, representing a range of sectors involved in child rights related issues. One of the main conclusions of the conference was that there is need for a greater focus on indigenous research on children and their rights, carried out by researchers in national and local academic institutions.
300 researchers, child rights advocates, practitioners and policy makers gathered in the UN Conference Centre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 30 November to 2 December to reflect on and discuss the role of research and knowledge generation in securing the implementation of rights for all children.
During the three days prominent experts in the child rights area presented their reflections on the role of knowledge in the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child during the last 20 years. Among the Key Note speakers were Agnes Aidoo, Vice Chair of the CRC Committee, Jim Emerson, Deputy Director of Plan International, Jaap Doek, former chair of the CRC Committee and Marta Santos Pais, UN Special Representative on Violence aganinst Children as well as Deputy Director of UNICEF, Saad Houry. Panels presented a range of perspectives on knowledge generation and use for improving the situation for children across the world. Panellists included Sheila Greene of the Children's Research Centre at Trinity College, Dublin, Irenland, David Parker, UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre and Vishantie Sewpaul of KwaZulu Natal University, South Africa.
Participants shared their experience in 14 parallell roundtable discussions, organized in themes, ranging from Health and Nutrition and Governance and Participation, to Global Economic Policies and Capacity Building. These discussions generated the recommendations which were distilled and included in the first draft Outcome Document.
One of the main issues that came up during the conference were need for increased capacity building for child research in countries where little or none exists, which is also an important focus area of the Childwatch International Research Network.
The Childwatch International Key Institutions Assembly, which took place in Addis Ababa for two days following the conference, also concluded with a recommendation to continue and increase its child research capacity building efforts. The 36 participants, representing 24 Key Institutions of the network, agreed to share resources for training through the Childwatch International web site. A new Board was elected at the Assembly, and the old Board was thanked for their effort. The new Board will, in collaboration with the Secretariat, develop a strategic plan for the coming 3 year period, which includes a focus on capacity building and increased sharing opportunities between the network members.
The Outcome Document and Call for Action from the Children's Rights at a Cross-Roads Conference, and the new strategic plan of Childwatch International, will be posted on the web site.