On 30 March the Ministry of Education and Children of Iceland and the Council of Europe hosted a high-level conference “Investing in Children – the Key to Prosperity” in Reykjavik, Iceland. Organised under the Icelandic Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, the conference focused on the benefits of investing in children as the key to prosperity for nations and individuals alike.
“There is no better investment than in children – the wellbeing and prosperity of children translates into our society many times over,” declared the Minister of Education and Children of Iceland, Ásmundur Einar Daðason, in his keynote speech. “Iceland is a small country and therefore we are extremely thankful for all the international work in the field. The Council of Europe Strategy for the Rights of the Child and all the work done within the Council is of great importance. Not only does it benefit a country like Iceland, but it is also a key to making the rights of the child – independent of where they live become a reality.”
Other keynote speakers at the conference included Najat Maalla M’jid, United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children; Morten Kjærum, Head of the Raul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law; Ramesh Raghavan M.D., PhD., Professor at NYU Silver School of Social Work, and Benjamin Perks, Head of Advocacy and Campaigns, UNICEF. The event was moderated by the Head of the Children’s Rights Division and Council of Europe Coordinator for the Rights of the Child, Regína Jensdóttir.
The conference featured input from specialists at the forefront of the implementation of the Prosperity Act in Iceland and explored approaches towards the creation of an analytical framework for the social cost of failing to support children’s wellbeing and prosperity. The conference follows the meeting of the Council of Europe Steering Committee for the Rights of the Child (CDENF) which took place on 28-29 March. At the meeting, the implementation of the Council of Europe Strategy for the Rights of the Child (2022-2027) was reviewed, with a special focus on how to enhance reporting of violence against children, how to strengthen justice for children through the promotion of the Barnahus model across Council of Europe member States and how to support children from Ukraine.