The 4th Arab Civil Society Forum for Children
The 4th Arab Civil Society Forum for Children
Beirut: 3 - 4 July 2012
Background of the 4th Forum:
The 4th Arab Civil Society Forum for Children tackles the issue of the right to participation, under the slogan "Participation means Protection". Child participation is considered to be one of the most important strategies that develop children capabilities and affect their life in the future. Investment in effective child participation has a wide positive impact on children, family, school and society. This is due to the fact that participation contributes to children development, endows them self confidence, and supports decision-making on their behalf, especially if these decisions are based on children's' needs, interests and opinions resulting from their direct experiences. As well, the expression of children for their views is considered as a powerful means against violence, abuse, and discrimination. However, this right to participation is surrounded by traditional views and cultures that represent a challenge to children and a barrier to their right to participation; child participation has not yet been framed to become a course of action that would enable children to realize their rights. The 4th Forum discusses this issue through analytical study on child participation conducted in eight Arab countries, a documentary film on child participation that is filmed in four Arab countries and a website for Arab Children Forum.
The Overall Goal of the 4th Forum:
Building capacities of civil society organizations and concerned institutions, including networking and advocacy in support of the right of Arab children to participation; identification of the level of participation of children in the Arab world; raising the awareness of the importance of participation; supporting the development of efficient Arab policies for children participation; and the formation of children forums network.
Objectives of the 4th Forum:
- Introducing civil society organizations and child rights concerned institutions, to the level of child participation in the Arab world, and the relation of participation to protection, through presenting results of the analytical study of child participation in Arab countries.
- Raising awareness on child participation, and mainstreaming practices that support child right to participation, through the demonstration of the film on child participation in the Arab countries.
- Encouraging children dialogue through the launching of Arab children forums network.
Expected Outputs of the 4th Forum:
It is expected that the 4th Forum would lead to a better understanding to the importance of participation for protecting children; and to raising the necessity for developing policies for children participation in the Arab world; and follow up recommendations to be adopted by the League of Arab States, as well as evolving of awareness to the importance of children participation as a right that provides them protection and make them active citizens in the future.
Arab Civil Society Forum for Children is a periodical gathering aiming at institutionalizing efforts of Arab civil society organizations in childhood areas. It has a permanent secretariat and an advisory committee of Arab organizations, in addition to a website (www.megdaf.org), aiming at raising developmental awareness with regard to children issues in the Arab world, and it adopts rights and development approach, and stems from the Convention on the Right of the Child.
The website contains different reports, information, studies, and news related to childhood events, as well it includes a database for members, that contains over 1000 members of both organizations and individuals, in addition an electronic newsletter is issued by this website entitled "Megdaf Echoes".
Former Sessions of the Forum:
The Forum plays a pivotal role in networking and building capacity of Arab civil society organizations working in the field of childhood, through identifying a main issue to be tackled in each of its meeting sessions.
In 2001, the First Forum was held in Morocco, as part of preparations for the United Nations Special Session on children.
In 2005, the Second Forum was held in Cairo, and was considered to be a new step towards building capacity of civil society through networking and exchanging experience.
In 2010, the Third Forum was held in Cairo, and focused on identifying the importance of data in changing children situations and in planning and programming on a right based approach and the apprehension of NGOs to that; as well as the availability of this data for civil society organizations.