In the Our Common Agenda, under the key proposal to “Upgrade the United Nations”, the UN Secretary-General decided to establish a High-Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism (HLAB) to identify concrete recommendations ahead of the 2024 Summit of the Future to improve international cooperation through effective multilateralism. 

In 2022, the HLAB held a global public consultation with experts, leaders, and practitioners, including member States, UN entities and civil society. Child Rights Connect made a submission based on the joint position paper calling for UN-wide child rights strategy.  

As a result of this consultation, the HLAB submitted to the UN Secretary-General on 18 April 2023 and outcome report: A Breakthrough for People and Planet – Effective and Inclusive Global Governance for Today and the Future 

The report identifies six transformative shifts:  

  1. Rebuild Trust in Multilateralism 
  1. Planet and People 
  1. Global Finance 
  1. Digital and Data Governance 
  1. Peace and Prevention 
  1. Anticipatory Action 

We are thrilled to see that under Shift 1, Recommendation 1. Represent “we the peoples” in the multilateral system, the HLAB is calling for A strategy to implement children’s rights based on our submission! 

The recommendation is not only claiming for the crucial need for a UN-wide approach to children’s rights to reinforce the UN’s capacity to support Member States’ actions, but also calling for the prioritization of a clear guidance on mainstreaming children’s rights across the multilateral system. 

Through this recommendation, the HLAB is acknowledging that children are a distinct group of rights holders, and this comes in addition to the recommendations on “youth”. 

Child Rights Connect has been highlighting such gaps for many years and we are very pleased that the key messages from our submission to the HLBA in 2022 “Putting child rights at the center of all UN actions through a UN-wide child rights strategy” have been taken into consideration. However, we regret that the HLBA has identified a limited number of rights to be considered at the Summit of the Future, when the full spectrum of children´s rights requires consideration.  

At the Summit of the Future in 2024, milestone decisions will be taken that will impact children’s rights. Thus, we will continue to advocate for the Summit to go beyond the recommendation of the HLAB report to consider how the “rights to food, health, and education can be protected globally”, and ensure a holistic approach to children´s rights, putting these and child participation at the centre of key decision-making and outcomes.