Interview with Luis Pedernera about the work of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child and its impact on climate and environmental issues

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Entrevista a Luis Pedernera sobre el trabajo del Comité de los Derechos del Niño de Naciones Unidas y su impacto en la cuestión climática y medioambiental

Each general observation takes a two-year construction process. Since the Committee takes decisions, in this case in 2021, the overview comes out in 2023, since in this process the Committee presents a work of general lines and objectives so that they can be opened for public consultation on the web and thus before that Contributions can be received in erasure. “. From there, the central actors of the process move forward, with states, NGOs, UN agencies and children issuing opinions.

In the process of building the common overview, the Committee also wants to partner with organizations that have the capacity to generate, for example, public consultations. In this way, the Committee identifies a partner and, within the framework of an agreement, creates a Children’s Advisory Council that represents different sectors, shares the process and leads consultations with children.

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During this two-year period, the Committee also had a working group on the environment, but it was decided that, for the sake of general overview, that group would be divided into a specific group to work on the general overview. Thus, there was a group of colleagues who took over the task of leading the work process before the observation was created. In this context, important methods for thinking with children (for example, questionnaires) were worked out.

Thus, the committee prepares a “zero draft” and reopens it for consultation. As an anecdote in this new phase of the consultation, in our region, I asked the Argentine Ombudsman for Children if he had the capacity to convene a regional consultation, because I was particularly interested in the voices of Latin America and the Caribbean. Was a general comment on this topic. Because Because our region is feeling the effects of climate change, because we are a region whose natural resources are being exploited, in addition to the fact that indigenous peoples are also affected by degradation as a result of these actions. In such a situation, I felt that the voice of our region should be relevant. With great reception and support the Ombudsman accepted it and proposed it to the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Thus, in Buenos Aires, at the end of 2022, we held a consultation that brought together more than 300 people, including states, children, civil society organizations and UN agencies working on children and climate change. As a result, the Buenos Aires Declaration was drafted, which was a very powerful document in terms of its later inclusion in the General Comment.

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Although we subsequently deliberate behind closed doors, the creation process is a very participatory process, in which all voices that have something to say on a specific issue of common observation are heard. In this case, what has been very important is the participation of boys and girls, because General Observation No. 26 has never required consultation or received so much contribution from them. More than 16,000 submitted contributions to the overview, 121 countries filled out online surveys, and in this region we bring together 19 countries from Latin America and the Caribbean.

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