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World Forum Foundation Report Global Working Initiative on Children’s Rights

By Moss, Norway • June 1-4, 2012

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During the 2011 World Forum, a group of delegates began talking about the possibility of developing a Working Group on Children's Rights. They considered this an opportunity for those who are passionate about the rights of children to launch a global initiative, using the World Forum Foundation and the World Forum on Early Care and Education as a ­platform. Presentations by panelists and reflections and ­support by participants at the World Forum inspired the ­organization of a Working Forum Global Working Initiative on Children's Rights. Goals for the initiative included learning about the work of existing groups surrounding children's rights, determining the need for a World Forum Working Group on Children's Rights, developing initial goals for this Working Group, and planning preliminary strategies for accomplishing these goals.

Children's rights advocates from Brazil, Canada, India, ­Norway, Oman, Singapore, the United States, and Wales met at the American College of Norway. The meeting began with a question: How did you get to this chair? The introduction to one another, through a sharing of our favorite chairs and the reasons we had made the journey to Moss, marked the beginning of the formation of many wonderful relationships within a community dedicated to children's rights. ­During the ­ensuing days, we shared our work, reflected on each other's work, identified common threads and interests, and developed a set of 'big threads' andgoals and tasks that we wanted to pursue as a Working Group. Throughout our days together, we shared home-cooked food, walks through Moss, visits to preschools in the forest and by the sea, and many, many ­stories. And we played with wire, weaving our individual ­creations together, as we were weaving together our work and our lives. Each of us left transformed by the experience, with a desire to deepen the relationships we had formed and to begin the work to which we had committed. We came together as a group of people, unrelated in many ways, many of us perfect strangers; but through our shared passion for children's rights, we were able to find our ­similarities, acknowledge our differences, and become friends. This is the power of the World Forum.

Our Work

We developed a document outlining the Guiding Principles of the World Forum Working Group on Children's Rights. The document reads:

• We will be self-reflective about our reasons for being engaged in this work and how we will proceed.

• We will seek and see multiple perspectives and multiple contexts for children's rights as the basis for action.

• We will ensure that the child's voice is heard and ­represented authentically and protected from tokenism and/or exploitation.

• We will approach children's rights in context and in all their complexity.

• We will use the CRC as a guiding tool for our work.

• We will ensure that our work is globally accessible.

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