The latest news, reactions and opinions on children's rights and EU external action
Girls Speak Out in the European Parliament
On Wednesday 9th October 15 young advocates coming from Kenya, Uganda, Pakistan, Tanzania, Kosovo and various European countries came to the European Parliament to discuss with EU leaders how they can champion girls’ rights. This youth-led event titled “Girls Speak Out in the European Parliament” as part of the European Week of Action for Girls was organised with the support of the S&D Group, EU40, the Greens/ EFA in the European Parliament, the Intergoup on Children's Rights in the European Parliament and the European United Left/Nordic Green Left. More than 10 recently elected Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) such as Iratxe García Pérez, President of the S&D Group in the European Parliament and Evelyn Regner, Chair of the FEMM Committee attended the event and responded to our driven advocates’ questions and demands to put girls at the centre of the EU agenda.
European Commission, what’s the plan to advance girls’ rights?
In the run up to the hearings of the new #VdLCommission, we are eager to understand what the next European Commissioners will be up to in the upcoming five years. The first two weeks of October the European Parliament will have the chance to hear them out. But we can’t help but wonder, will the European Parliament voice the concern that matter to girls. Yes, to better grasp what’s the plan to advance girls’ rights worldwide, we want to know what our future European Commissioners have to say about the renewal of the Gender Action Plan? Girls have different needs and challenges depending on their age. Then, in relation to crisis management (or previously known as humanitarian aid and civil protection), are they planning to pay attention to the specific needs of girls in conflict settings which differ from either boys or adults? And what about involving girls and young women’s voices in the EU decision making processes beyond having a full 50/50 gender equal team of Commissioners?! We believe their voices need to be heard, especially when it comes down to those policies that affect them directly. We’ll be on the tip of our seats the first week of October.
Now it’s up to the Member States to follow the EP’s example on the next EU budget and make sure the EU will invest in girls
Yesterday, March 27, the European Parliament has made a final decision on the joint position on the NDICI coming from its Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation Committees. Throughout the past few months, we have been calling on the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to invest in girls, in gender equality and ensure that the different needs per age group are taken into account. For Plan International the European Parliament has made an important step towards realising the Sustainable Development Goals. The focus on children and youth and the role the EU can play to ensure they can shape their own future worldwide is a very welcome tone, especially ahead of the European elections.
#ShareYourPower at Women Deliver
The beginning of June the world’s largest conference on gender equality and the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women called ‘Women Deliver’ will take place in Vancouver. For the fifth time, the two-day conference brings together more than 6,000 world leaders, influencers, advocates, academics, activists, and journalists with the drive to accelerate progress for girls and women everywhere. Of course, Plan International will be there to power the movement for girls to change the world. The “Power Party” we will be organizing wants to address fundamental power imbalances stressing the “nothing about her, without her” principle which is pivotal to ensure #GirlsGetEqual.
The Syria Conference in Brussels, A step forward towards the protection of those most at risk
Last week the European Union together with the United Nations organised the Brussels III Conference on "Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region", bringing together the international community and world leaders to address the key humanitarian issues affecting Syrians, refugees and their host populations. Since the last Syria conference a year ago, the situation in the region remains critical, with over 11 million Syrians in need of protection and humanitarian assistance and another 5.6 million Syrian refugees hosted by neighbouring countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt.
Next EU budget: Will Member States follow the European Parliament’s example?
Gender equality, sustainable development and children and youth are all essential to ensure the next EU budget will help the EU reach the goals of the 2030 Agenda over the next 7 years. On 4 March 2019, Members of the European Parliament (EP) in the Foreign Affairs and the Development Cooperation Committees voted on amendments to the European Commission’s proposal for the Budget’s Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI). With this vote a few months before the European elections they leave behind a strong legacy.
Towards a sustainable and effective impact: Embracing stronger partnerships
On 19th and 20th November 2018, the European Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) invited its humanitarian partners to the Annual Partners Conference to discuss recent developments, challenges and opportunities in the humanitarian sector. As a committed partner, Plan International participated in the conference as it offers a platform to exchange perspectives, experiences, and recommendations for increasing the effectiveness and sustainable impact of our humanitarian aid. The conference strongly emphasised the integrated, triple nexus approach, EU thematic priorities such as education and protection from violence in emergencies, and the next Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA) modalities with a focus on results, transparency and accountability.
The European Parliament urges the EU to place education at the centre of development cooperation
On 13 November 2018 in Strasbourg, the European Parliament Plenary adopted a report on development assistance in the field of education. For the past months Plan International EU Office has been working closely with Members of the European Parliament and our global expert on education Yona Nestel, ensuring that the report promotes investment in quality, inclusive education with a focus on girls.
Discussing future development priorities is not enough – the time to act is now!
On 17th October, upon invitation from the European Think Tank Group (ETTG), Plan International CEO Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen participated in an event in Brussels discussing innovation in development: the future of EU International Cooperation. Together with Linda McAvan (MEP, Chair of the DEVE Committee), Adebayo Olukoshi (Chairperson, ECDPM), Alex Their (Executive Director, ODI), Nathalie Tocci (Director, IAI) and Charles Goerens (MEP, DEVE Rapporteur), Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen’s panel discussed the development priorities for the next European Commission and Parliament from 2019. The aim of the discussion was to review and assess the EU’s contribution to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to set an agenda for EU external action in the run up to the European Parliament elections and the installment of the new European Commission.
The European Parliament should not turn its back on international cooperation: will it listen to the advice of its Development Committee?
On 5th November 2018, a key vote was held which will influence the European Parliament’s position for the negotiations on the next seven-year EU budget. The Committee on Budgets (BUDG) adopted the European Parliament’s interim report on the EU budget 2021-2027, with 25 votes in favour and 5 against. The BUDG Committee is clearly going to be the recipient of considerable lobbying going forward – including from the European Parliament’s own committees. Will they support a budget which is strong on human rights, gender equality and ensuring Europe’s role on the global stage: will they take the advice of their colleagues in the Committee on Development (DEVE)?
Is the DEVE committee turning its back on development cooperation in the next MFF?
On 30 August 2018, the European Parliament development (DEVE) committee met to discuss a draft Opinion from MEP Engel on the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF 2021-2027) and in particular the Regulation for the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI). This draft Opinion will be one of the Committee’s contributions to this instrument and to the MFF process within the European Parliament. It is thus an important opportunity for the DEVE Committee to have its voice heard on part of the future budget dedicated to development policy, and to push for instruments that truly support sustainable development and the principle of leaving no-one behind.
VOTE for GIRLS, Commit to girls' rights everywhere - European Week of Action for Girls 2018
Every year, the European Week of Action for Girls (EWAG) organises events and activities around the International Day of the Girl Child (11 October). Since 2012, EWAG has been pushing for the rights of girls to be better protected and championed by the EU, in particular through its external action. It is organised by a coalition of civil society organisations, and has been supported by the European Institutions and UN Agencies. This year’s edition takes place from 8 - 12 October 2018.
Breaking barriers to quality education in emergency situations
Plan International has been working in Nigeria since 2014 and one of the pillars of our work is to ensure access to education in emergency situations. In Borno State, in the north-east of the country, Plan International with the support of volunteer teachers, communities and local leadership provides education to children from various communities who have been internally displaced as a result of the crisis in the Lake Chad region.
Safe spaces for youth: How girls transform their cities
On International Youth Day, 12th August 2018, the United Nations underlined that youth need safe spaces where they can come together, engage in activities related to their diverse needs and interests, participate in decision-making processes and freely express themselves. This is exactly what our Safer Cities programme is trying to do. This initiative, in collaboration with Women in Cities International and UN-Habitat, aims to ensure the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (more specifically SDG 11) to ‘Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable by 2030’. In 10 different cities across the world - Cairo, Alexandria, Assiut, Delhi, Hanoi, Kampala, Nairobi, Lima, Asuncion and Honiara – we strive to create sustainable change by working across three levels of change: with governments and institutions, communities and families, and girls and boys.
Towards an EU external strategy against early and forced marriages
Around the world, every 7 seconds a girl under 15 is married. On 4th July 2018, in plenary session, the European Parliament voted on a new own-initiative report*, “Towards an EU external strategy against early and forced marriages”, prepared by MEP Charles Goerens from the Committee on Foreign Affairs. The report received wide support, as 556 MEPs voted in favour, with only 61 abstaining and 63 against.
EU must take urgent action to safeguard gender equality in its budget for 2021-2027
Civil society organisations come together once more to call on the EU to prioritize gender equality across its post-2020 budget. The recent European Commission proposal for the new Neighborhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) - part of the EU Budget - fails to really mention gender equality though the EU has committed to champion the issue. We are very concerned about the worrying signal that this sends and the effect that this might have on gender equality in EU external action.
Sport for development
Sport is increasingly recognised as a valuable, complementary means to achieve development objectives. The UN’s adoption of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, celebrated on 6 April, reflects the positive influence that sport can have on the advancement of human rights and social and economic development. Plan International encourages using sport to bring people together to foster inclusion and equality. Sport conveys positive values such as teamwork, solidarity, respect, tolerance, and fairness.
The European Development Days in Brussels
On 5 and 6 June, the European Commission is organising the 12th edition of their European Development Days (EDDs). This year the two-day event will aim to bring together the European Union's commitment to gender equality and women's empowerment with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development this aligns with Plan International’s overall ambition to ensure that 100 million girls will be able to learn, lead, decide and thrive by 2020. We believe Girls’ Rights are Human Rights and therefore call on the EU to place girls at the heart of their agenda to invest in girls for them to become active drivers of change and can contribute to shaping the decisions that matter most to them.
Statement: Making the case for gender equality in the new MFF
Brussels, 4 May 2018 – On Wednesday, the European Commission released its Communication on the Multiannual Financial Framework (2021-2027). As the gender and development community we are deeply concerned that gender equality is not addressed as a key political priority. We question to what extent the external relations budget, increased to 10% of the MFF, will serve the primary long-term objective of EU’s development cooperation which remains the eradication of poverty.
What would the EU budget look like should girls take over…
Later today, the European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, Günther Oettinger, will unveil the European Commission’s proposal for the 2021-2027 EU budget. Expectations are high, with the announcement launching the year-long negotiation process. This marks the moment when all other EU actors – whether in Brussels or the Member States – will enter the fray in order to shape the Europe they want. We are very curious to see Oettinger’s vision – particularly as regards the EU’s external action. But we can’t help wondering what the budget would look like were girls to have taken over designing it…
Plan International EU Office welcomes Serap Altinisik as new Head of Office & EU Representative
As of this month Serap Altinisik will be heading the Plan International EU Liaison Office in Brussels. Serap will be leading the work of the Plan International EU Liaison Office driving forward the longstanding thought and do leadership of Plan International in advancing children’s rights, equality for girls and young women globally. Serap will work to ensure her team is making an important contribution to the organisation’s overall ambition to create a global girls’ rights movement that is powerful, influential and well supported for girls and young women to become true champions for change.
The Syria Conference in Brussels, a step forward towards the protection of the most vulnerable
On 24 April, Plan International EU Office attended the second Brussels conference on “Supporting the future of Syria and the region”. Plan International, through it’s expanding range of programmes in the region, directly witnesses the increasing risks individuals and families face forcing them to turn to negative coping mechanisms due to the lack of access to basic services, economic/livelihood opportunities, and protection services.
Pushing girls’ rights forward: introducing the Girls’ Rights Platform
On 20 June 2018, Plan International presented its Girls’ Rights Platform to stakeholders in Brussels. The platform is the world’s most comprehensive database with more than 1.400 international policy documents through which policy-makers can access legally binding documents and international soft law allowing them to build on previous girls’ rights achievements and make girls and their specific challenges visible in future policies and agreements.
The European Parliament’s position on the next EU budget voted in plenary today
The Budget Committee’s own initiative report on the next EU Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF) by Jan Olbrycht (EPP) and Isabelle Thomas (S&D) has been voted by the plenary of the European Parliament (EP) today. It sets out the EP’s position ahead of the European Commission’s proposal which will be published on 2nd May.
Towards the empowerment of girls – Plan International EU Office discussed the role of education in developing countries at the European Parliament
Just imagine what girls could do should they be empowered. If they would only be given the possibility to fulfil their full potential and the opportunities, skills and space to thrive. This is what we discussed during in the European Parliament in Brussels on 19th February.
Press Release: Ambitious vision lacking in EU’s 2018 budget, say NGOs
[BRUSSELS, 18 November 2017] As EU Member States and the European Parliament just struck a deal on the EU’s budget for 2018, a group of NGOs denounce cuts in EU development and humanitarian aid, taking money away from the poorest and most marginalised.
Press release: #GirlsTakeover EU
On 11 October 2017, Ritah, from Uganda, will become First Vice-President of the European Commission, symbolically taking over the role of Frans Timmermans.
Leave No Child Behind: Interview with EEAS
The EEAS's Eileen Gonnord shares her thoughts on the revised EU Guidelines from the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of the Child and the impact they will have on advancing children's rights worldwide.
Interview: The European Commission ON YOUTH ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT
Alessandro Batazzi, Programme Officer at DG DEVCO's "Migration, Employment, Inequalities" Unit talked to us about the European Commission's work on addressing youth unemployment and economic empowerment, with a focus on girls and young women.
EU Member States' real plans revealed?
Caught on camera: Meeting notes* reveal EU Member States plans to ‘hijack’ new Sustainable Development Fund
Press release: EU BUDGET DEAL FAILS TO DELIVER FOR MOST IN NEED
The budget deal promises more funds for the EU’s external action, but diverts money from those most in need.
OPEN LETTER ON #EUBUDGET2017: DON'T CUT EU AID
Open letter to EU Member State Permanent Representatives, calling for a robust external aid budget 2017 dedicated to achieving the core aims of EU development cooperation and humanitarian aid.
STRONG EXTERNAL AID BUDGET CRUCIAL IN FIGHT TO END EXTREME POVERTY
BRUSSELS, 26 October 2016: EU member states must reverse their proposed cuts to external spending and increase aid beyond the budget ceiling if the EU is to meet its commitment to end extreme poverty by 2030.
Interview: Closing the skills gap to address youth unemployment
On International Youth Day, we asked Klaus Rudischhauser, Deputy Director-General of DG DevCo, to answer a few questions about the role of the EU in addressing the ever increasing rates of youth unemployment in the world.
EU migration plan could harm refugee children
EU leaders have rushed through a new framework for migration that will heavily impact people in countries across Africa and Asia. Plan International is extremely concerned about its potential effects on children.
Press release: Reject dangerous migration Plan, NGOs tell EU Leaders
A coalition of more than 120 NGOs, including Plan International EU Office are calling on EU leaders to develop a sustainable long-term strategy for migration management.
Joint Press Release Following #EDD16
Win-win partnerships are key to achieving women’s and girls’ economic empowerment and will lead the way towards sustainable development, according to Plan International, UNIDO, UN Women, and the World Bank Group
Press release: TIME FOR EU TO WALK THE TALK ON 2030 AGENDA
SDG Watch Europe, an alliance of 70 organisations including Plan International wrote to EC President Jean-Claude Juncker calling for him to adopt, as a matter of urgency, an overarching strategy to guide implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
Changing attitudes in Guinea-Bissau
16 February 2016: Plan international and the European Commission work together to eliminate FGM/C in Guinea-Bissau, one community at a time
SPEECH: Child protection is a life-saving intervention
2 December 2015: Child protection is and must be considered to be a life-saving intervention in the immediate emergency response.
News: Protection from Violence is every child's right
20 November 2015: Many millions of children around the world live in fear of violence, and we must all step up our combined efforts to change this.
EC Project in Uganda: Switch Africa Green
With funding from the European Commission, Plan International is working to promote the transition to an inclusive green economy in order to help tackle some of Uganda's most pressing problems.
News: European parliament 'key role' in protecting human rights
What’s the definition of a child? What rights do children have? Are just some of the issues we addressed during a training for MEP assistants and political advisors, organised in partnership with Eurochild.
News: What do the SDGs mean for the EU?
What do the proposed Sustainable Development Goals really mean for the EU? That was the question posed by Tanya Cox, Acting Head of Plan International's EU Office, when she addressed the European Economic and Social Committee.
A world at work: India's Saksham project
In India, Plan International is working to fight gender discrimination in wage rates and differences in skills, training and education, as well as in conditions of work.
News: EVIDENCE CRUCIAL IN SEARCH FOR YOUTH EMPLOYMENT SOLUTIONS
Share experiences, scale up, think differently. Three key ingredients all stakeholders must remember when searching for solutions to the global youth unemployment crisis, according to participants at a recent World Bank Brussels Office event.
News: WOMEN’S AND GIRLS' ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT: SYNTHESIS FOR SUCCESS
Achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment is not just about human rights - it is also a vital component of sustainable development, writes Ilza Juhansone, Latvia's Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Permanent Representative to the EU.
NEWS: ENGAGING TRADITIONAL LEADERS ‘A GAME-CHANGER’ IN THE FIGHT AGAINST EBOLA
The ability to engage communities – from school children to society elders – to change harmful attitudes and behaviours, is critical to the success or failure of our efforts to tackle the Ebola outbreak, according to Plan International CEO Nigel Chapman.
Speech: THE POWER OF SOCIAL MOBILISATION: LESSONS FROM SIERRA LEONE
Speech by Plan International CEO Nigel Chapman at "Breaking the Spell: The role of secret societies in Sierra Leone's fight against Ebola" on 3 March 2015. CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY.
News: TIME TO START FINANCING THE RIGHT TO EDUCATION
2000 to 2015 was a great decade and a half for global ‘schooling’. MDGs as the driving force, the number of out-of-school children has almost halved. However, we too often equate access to education with the realisation of a broader right to education, writes Hans De Greve.
SPEECH: POST-2015 FRAMEWORK 'MUST ADDRESS FAILURES IN GOVERNANCE'
Speaking at the opening of the European Year for Development 2015, Tanya Cox, Co-chair of the Beyond-2015 European Taskforce, called for the post-2015 framework to address failures in governance.
NEWS: REACTION TO EU’S POST-2015 VISION
Of particular interest to Plan International are the EU’s approach to the question of the universality of the framework, to gender equality and human rights more broadly, to governance and accountability and the place of young people in future accountability mechanisms.
News: Defend EU aid: An open letter to EU leaders
Together with National Directors of Plan International, we are writing to express our deep concern over the current state of the negotiations on the EU’s budget for 2015. Here is our open letter to EU leaders.
News: Q&A: The EU budget crisis
The EU is currently facing a serious liquidity crisis. With the EC already unable to honour bills legitimately incurred in 2014, Member states have proposed cuts to the 2015 budget, including development and humanitarian aid, jeopardising the EU’s ability to respond to complex global challenges.
News: EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION ON CHILDREN'S RIGHTS: OUR ASSESSMENT
25 years ago, world leaders made a promise: to protect and fulfil the rights of all children. But the reality is that, 25 years on, that promise remains unfulfilled for millions of children throughout the world.
News: PLAN AND THE EU: FURTHERING SRHR IN TOGO AND BANGLADESH
Most prevalent in developing countries, poor SRHR perpetuate poverty and exclusion. Acknowledging this link, Plan Sweden and the European Commission (EC) have joined forces to bring lasting change in Bangladesh and Togo, where SRHR remain dysfunctional.
News: International Youth Day: time to reflect on (un)employment
International Youth Day is meant to celebrate the efforts of youth in enhancing global society, and to promote ways to encourage youth to make positive contributions to their communities. Despite being the future’s backbone, youth is nowadays facing increasing challenges to do so.
News: From poverty to prosperity: Achieving lasting change for girls
Girls of all ages deserve particular attention in policy and programming. That was the message from panellists at the launch of the European Week of Action for Girls 2014.
Press Release: EU Budget deal 'bare minimum' required
December 9, 2014: Reacting to the provisional deal on the EU’s 2015 budget and the draft amending budgets for 2014, Plan International welcomes the agreement but warns that this must serve as a wake-up call to EU leaders.
Press Release: The EU must move from words to action on girls’ rights
Plan International’s EU Office is calling for concrete action from the EU to tackle the engrained social norms and institutionalised inequality which result in discrimination against girls.
Press Release: EU’s increased efforts to promote gender equality in post-2015
Plan International welcomes EU’s commitment to prioritise gender equality and human rights of women in the next set of goals for a post-2015 global agenda.
Press release: Big win for global education
July 1, 2014: Member States teamed up with governments of the world’s poorest countries and private sector donors to pledge a total of $28 billion to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) fund.
Press release: Our response to EC communication “A Decent Life for All: From Vision to Collective Action”
The document, which proposes priority areas and potential targets for the years following 2015, covers key issues but still fails to take a rights-based approach, says Head of Plan International EU Office.
Press release: EU member states urged to ratify Optional protocole to CRC
January 20, 2014: Children whose human rights have been violated will finally be able to bring their cases to the United Nations thanks to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure (OP3 CRC) enacted last week.
Press release: DCI deal demonstrates commitment to world’s most vulnerable
The European Parliament has endorsed the final compromise text establishing the Development Cooperation Instrument, one of the EU’s most important external aid instruments, for the next seven years. The deal represents a welcome commitment to protecting and promoting the rights of the world’s most vulnerable in the face of financial austerity.
Op-ed: Malala, and the millions of ‘other Malalas’ like her
Malala Yousafzai’s story has struck a chord, but it symbolises a global struggle. Every day, poverty, discrimination and violence combine to deny millions of girls like Malala their basic rights.
Press release: Parliament's agreement on EU budget welcome
Children's rights and development organisation Plan International welcomes the European Parliament’s agreement on the EU’s seven year budget and calls for limited funds to be invested wisely.
Press release: Life-saving aid under 'silent attack' in EU budget negotiations
Life-saving aid is under silent attack from EU leaders looking to make short-sighted budget savings.
Open Letter: Defending the EU development and humanitarian aid budget for 2014-2020
An open letter from Plan Europe to EU Heads of State or Government, calling on them to defend the European Commission's proposal for development and humanitarian aid budget in the 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework.
Press release: Support for education in emergencies Nobel cause
Plan International welcomes the decision by EU leaders to use the Nobel Peace prize money to support education for children caught up in conflict worldwide.
Press release: 75 million girls absent from world’s classrooms must be urgently addressed
The estimated 75 million girls missing from classrooms across the world is a major violation of rights and a huge waste of young potential, according to international child rights and development organisation Plan International.
European Week of Action for Girls 2012
European Week of Action for Girls will draw the attention of the EU to the particular challenges that come with being born a girl in one of the world’s poorest countries.
Op-ed: Double discrimination: Girls in EU development policy
Writing in the Parliament Magazine, Karen Schroh, Head of Plan EU Office, argues that being a child and being female should not mean you are denied your basic human rights.
Op-ed: Giving girls a voice
Have you ever felt invisible? Scared? Worthless? That the choices you made weren’t really your choices at all? Sadly, that’s the daily reality for millions of girls around the world; girls who, because of their age and gender, are too easily ignored, discriminated against, left at the bottom of the social ladder. This must change.
Press release: European Parliament demonstrates strong commitment to children's rights
International child rights and development organisation Plan welcomes the European Parliament’s strong commitment to child rights, gender, health and education in development cooperation
PRESS RELEASE: 1 budget. 7 years. 2 billion children
Investing in children in the 2014-2020 budget is critical if the EU is to meet its poverty reduction targets, according to international child rights and development organisation Plan.
European Parliament support creation of International Day of the Girl
393 Members of the European Parliament from diverse political and geographical backgrounds have signed the Written Declaration 39/11 in support of an International Day of the Girl