Rationale:

In 2017, Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Chairwoman of the General Women's Union President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood & Childhood Supreme Chairperson of the Family Development Foundation, declared Emirati Children's Day every March 15 in recognition of the publishing of the Child Rights Law (Wadeema) in the official gazette in 2016. Emirati Children's Day is since then celebrated to renew commitments towards the rights of all national and expatriate children in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). And as the world gathers in November 20, 2019 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Emirati Children's Day 2020 is a unique opportunity for the UAE to put children's rights on the national agenda and accelerate the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs).

Child Participation:

The UAE has explicit commitments towards promoting children's participation. The National Strategy for Motherhood & Childhood 2017-2021 (Strategy) calls in its 4th Strategic Goal for the "Promotion of the genuine participation of children and adolescents in all domains" which includes numerous initiatives including "to raise awareness among families, caregivers and the whole society on the rights of children and adolescents to participate" and “to establish mechanisms for the participation of children and adolescents in educational institutions and local and national communities and encourage them to participate”. In addition, the Child Rights Law (Wadeema) states in Article 30 that "the State shall form councils, associations, clubs and centers for children, specialized in the children's cultural, artistic, scientific and physical development as well as other aspects of development". However, creating an environment in which child participation is fully and effectively realized has been challenging, as the concept itself remains elusive. The SCMC pledges its full respect for the guiding principles of the CRC: non-discrimination; the best interests of the child; the child's inherent right to life, survival and development; and the child’s right to express his or her views freely in all matters affecting the child, with those views being given due weight. Additionally, the SCMC made several steps to translate the Strategy’s goal related to children’s right to participate. The latest was the formation of Children's Advisory Council under the office of the SCMC's Secretary General. The Council's main purpose is to enhance children's participation rights where its members include children of determination and represent various Emirates. Members are responsible for: - Providing their opinion whenever they are asked to in projects related to motherhood & childhood in the areas of education, health and culture. - Participating in official delegations of the SCMC. - Contributing to raising awareness among children on the activities of the SCMC and the rights of Emirati children.