Marking Children’s Day at the Assembly of Kosovo
Kosovo Assembly marked 1 June 2020, giving space to children and their demands for a better childhood and promising future.
The Assembly of Kosovo marked Children’s Day with a special session. A session led by Rijad Mehmeti, an active member of UNICEF-established Youth Reference Group. On this occasion Kosovo children conveyed their concerns and specific requirements through referring to Sustainable Development Goals. The session was broadcasted live on public broadcaster RTK, covering Albanian, Serbian, and sign language.
The Assembly of Kosovo, in January 2018, approved the Resolution on Sustainable Development Goals and in the same year the Council for Sustainable Development was established. In line with these developments, twenty children participating in the session, of different age groups and communities, conveyed their messages in the spirit of the Sustainable Development Goals, asking Kosovo MPs to improve welfare and guarantee a more dignified life for all, without distinction. They stressed the need to fight poverty, guarantee accessibility, inclusiveness, equality and create equal economic opportunities for all. The children also stressed the need for clean water and energy, and demanded the right to universal health services, clean air, child friendly cities, and gender equality from early childhood. They sought to improve life for all, without distinction.
Due to the circumstances with the COVI-19 pandemic, this session organized under the auspices of the Speaker of the Assembly, Ms. Vjosa Osmani PhD and with the support of the United Nations Team in Kosovo (UNKT), with the guidance from UNICEF, was held without the presence of Members of Parliament. Although this year the children were represented in smaller numbers, they conveyed strong and well-focused messages, representing all ethnic communities, children with special needs, girls and boys.
Speaker Osmani was the host of the session. UN Development Coordinator, Mrs. Ulrika Richardson, head of the UNICEF office in Kosovo, Mr. Murat Sahin, as well as the SDG Champion, Mrs. Uta Ibrahimi, were present.
Speaker of the house promised to the children that in her daily engagement with MP’s, she will make sure to address their requests and try to make their dreams come true, so that they and all the children of Kosovo can live a dignified life. The UN Development Coordinator, Ms. Ulrika Richardson, promised to support Kosovo institutions in their endeavor to improve life for all children. The UNICEF Head of Office, Mr. Murat Sahin assured the audience that UNICEF will stand by children, so that one day they can become champions like Uta, leaders like Vjosa and Ulrika.
There are many of children who live in poverty. While it is not easy for us, it is more difficult for them and their families. More needs to be done for these children and their families.- said Dragana Ađančić, 8 year girl from Babin most/ Babimovc – Obiliq/ć municipality.
Elta Barjami, a member of Youth Reference Group – pointed out the importance of the Early Childhood Education as well as accessibility for children with special needs. For true inclusivity we need more special equipment, establishing access for wheel-chairs as well as specially designed toilets.-she said
Fiona Tuzi -while demanding Climate action, said: There is no place completely spared from Climate Change, with cyclones, storms, bushfires and droughts becoming more common. The difference between COVID-19 pandemic and the disasters caused by Climate Change, is that COVID-19 pandemics is a dangerous disease, but Climate Changes might have similar long lasting effects.
While stating their demands, children focused a lot on the need to change our lifestyles because of the developments related to pandemics. Children also demanded that politicians and lawmakers focus on the well-being of people, where in addition to economic and social recovery, they stressed the need for increased care for the environment and called for embracing the concept of sustainable development across all sectors.
The message of this day will remain permanently printed within the premises of the Assembly, in a form of the palm-prints, on a clay installation in the form of the symbolic SDG wheel with soft clay laid over. This instillation will remain as a daily reminder for the Kosovo MPs, that the demands of the children must not be forgotten. Moreover, this symbol placed now at the entrance of the plenary hall is also an additional symbol that children’s day is not just a day, it is an additional reminder of children’s needs and demands- to be addressed every day.
NOTE: The event was organised under the leadership of the office of the Speaker of the Assembly of Kosovo, supported by UN Development Coordinator’s Office and UNICEF. The event carefully followed the guidance of UNICEF for engagement of children in public events. The organisation of the event was also supported by UNHCR, IOM, UN Women, UNHABITAT. Children of all communities and diverse backgrounds were present, representing all children of Kosovo.