European Committee of the Regions and UNICEF join forces to support the inclusion of children from Ukraine
The two organisations will support local and regional administrations to implement child protection and social integration measures.
The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) and UNICEF have signed an agreement to support regional and local administrations in the European Union in their work on child protection, and promote the European Child Guarantee with a focus on refugee children from Ukraine.
More specifically, the agreement aims to facilitate knowledge sharing between the CoR, UNICEF and local and regional authorities on how to best design, coordinate and successfully implement programmes for refugee children from Ukraine, with a look at their long-term integration into European cities and regions.
This joint initiative will also build on the legislative work of the European Committee of the Regions – the EU's political assembly for local and regional politicians – to secure children's rights in EU law, including the European Child Guarantee adopted by the EU in 2021. The legislation provides guidance and tools for EU countries so that every child in the European Union at risk of poverty or social exclusion has access to adequate education, health care, nutrition, and housing by 2030. Many of the public services that are critical to the achievement of these objectives are run by local and regional administrations.
More than 8.2 million people – the majority of whom are women and children – have fled the war against Ukraine into neighbouring countries, with many continuing their journey onwards to other destinations. European sub-national authorities have shown unprecedented solidarity in welcoming refugee children and families from Ukraine.
Vasco Alves Cordeiro (PT/PES), President of the European Committee of the Regions, said: "As of today, it is official that the CoR and UNICEF join forces in a new partnership to increase support to EU cities and regions in their work on child protection, with a particular focus on children from Ukraine. This partnership agreement shows the CoR’s commitment in promoting and defending children’s rights, including the most vulnerable. Thanks to this new cooperation, we will be able to facilitate exchanges between UNICEF and the CoR's membership. UNICEF's technical expertise will be crucial to guarantee that local and regional authorities apply the right standards for children's accommodation, integration and education. Especially remote regions and small towns, who are welcoming displaced children but don’t have much experience or close connections to international child care experts, will benefit from the coming exchanges. Local and regional authorities bear a huge responsibility and are showing tremendous solidarity when they welcome displaced children. This is why we recognise today the work of both UNICEF and local and regional authorities in Europe, willing to upskill their staff, improve their facilities and make their cities and regions an even more welcoming place for vulnerable and refugee children."
Philippe Cori, UNICEF Regional Director a.i for Europe and Central Asia, said: "Children and families from Ukraine have endured more than a year of war and displacement. Ensuring that children are in a safe environment where they can play, learn and interact with their peers is essential to their wellbeing. Local and regional administrations play a vital role in improving services and promoting social cohesion. Through this partnership with CoR, UNICEF will support local authorities to strengthen their systems for protecting vulnerable children, including refugee children from Ukraine."
In June 2022, the CoR and territorial associations from Ukraine and the EU created the European Alliance for Cities and Regions for the Reconstruction of Ukraine which will contribute to the reconstruction of public infrastructure, including schools. The CoR is serving as the secretariat of the Alliance.
The European Union and UNICEF share the values underpinned by Article 3(3) of the Treaty on European Union and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
UNICEF: Chiara Frisone, firstname.lastname@example.org, +41 76 690 8465
European Committee of the Regions: Andrew Gardner, email@example.com, +32 473 843 981