Monday 08 August 2022

First Mediterranean movement set up for children to speak in one voice

The first Mediterranean movement for children in the region has just been inaugurated to pressure governments and civil society to place youngsters and their future at the top of the political agenda.
The Mediterranean Children’s Movement (MCM) is the brainchild of President Emeritus Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca and its first taskforce meeting was held yesterday evening to coincide with International Children’s Day.
The online meeting includes the contributions of Virginia Gamba, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict; and Regina Jensdottir, head of the Children’s Rights Division and Council of Europe Coordinator for the Rights of the Child.


Made up of 12 children, aged 10 to 16, from five different countries, the MCM taskforce wants to demonstrate that a country which fails to listen to 25 per cent of its population under the age of 18, cannot be called democratic nor can it produce responsible citizens.
Ms Coleiro Preca, who chairs the Malta Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society and is Eurochild president, said: “It has been my dream to bring together the children of the Mediterranean to speak in one voice, so that governments, policymakers, civil society, and anyone who has the wellbeing of children at heart, focus on placing children and their future at the top of the political agenda.
“This is the only way we can achieve sustainable peace and holistic well-being in our beautiful Mediterranean region. We hope this first step will encourage children from other countries to join to ensure their voice resonates more strongly.”
The MCM — made up of children from Malta, Serbia, Tunisia, Cyprus and Slovenia — believes that effective, sustainable and relevant decisions can only be made if the people concerned are meaningfully involved in the process.
In its mission statement, the movement stressed that if countries really wanted to address key social challenges such as child poverty, inequality and child protection, it was essential that policies were informed by the life-experiences of children.
The MCM hopes it can be instrumental in putting a spotlight on increased inequalities, child poverty in the Mediterranean, children living in conflict areas, developmental well-being, quality education, and the impacts of climate change, among others.
By working with other national organisations, the MCM has ambitious targets, including undertaking a Mediterranean Child Health Policy Initiative, and advocating for justice, equality and peace.
The MCM also plans to organise conferences that will allow Mediterranean children to study certain core problems in greater depth, contribute to country reports and listen to expert speakers to work towards finding solutions, and guaranteeing progress.
Malta’s representative on the taskforce, 18-year-old Martina Olivia, said she felt honoured to be a part of a Mediterranean movement that placed children at the forefront of its work while prioritising their needs.
“The MCM is going to bring to everyone’s awareness that absolutely nothing in this world is worth more than the life and well-being of every child.”
Those who wish to form part of MCM or seek further information can send an email to: mediterrachildren@gmail.com

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