In the afternoon of 07 July 2016, a very special event jointly hosted by the Voices of Future Generations initiative and the Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice was held at the Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London. This intergenerational learning circle included Voices of Future Generations child authors from around the world, UN SDG Child Ambassadors and children from local schools who came together to share their ideas about how they would address the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals and about the world they would like to see.
All of the children contributed brilliantly, offering their inspirational and insightful views on issues such as gender equality, climate change, human rights and access to education, amongst other deeply important topics. Several key themes emerged. The children present keenly emphasised the need for all children around the world know their rights, as set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. They called for better recognition of their right to have a voice and to express their opinions. Working together was deemed crucial and the children appealed to adults for help and support in achieving their goals for building a better world. It was also overwhelmingly important to the children that all people should strive more for a sustainable world and less for beyond personal gain. As one of the children said, “once given a voice, we will speak, and once listened to, we will move forwards in the goal to give every child rights”.
A 2016 Future Generations Inspiration Award was presented to keynote speaker Professor Kirsten Sandberg by the child authors, in recognition and acknowledgement of the inspirational work she has done on the United Nations Committee to the Rights of the Child behalf of children globally.
Many thanks to Baroness Julie Smith of Newnham for being so instrumental in the hosting of the event. We also wish to thank Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General, and Prof. Edith Brown-Weiss of Georgetown Law School for their inspiring speeches via video-link.