The European Union recently held the 13th annual Forum on the Rights of the Child, during which experts from a range of sectors who work on issues relating to children came together to discuss how best to guarantee the realisation of children's rights.

This year's conference focused on the EU strategy on the rights of the child, set to be implemented between 2021 and 2024. The aim of the strategy is to provide a framework for EU action to better promote and protect children's rights. It will include a set of measures looking at protecting the rights of the most vulnerable children, children's rights in a digital age, preventing violence against children, and promoting child-friendly justice.

Perhaps most importantly, the event was also attended by children and young people themselves. They were asked to express their views on the topics discussed, as well as to reflect on what adults said and share their feedback.

The current COVID-19 pandemic provides an example of where possibly better outcomes could have been reached had children's interests been more considered and some attempt made to understand the wider impact on their lives.

Governments across the world implemented measures aimed at curbing the spread of the virus and for children, this has meant an interruption in their education, formal care arrangements, and leisure activities. This has not been ideal for children and there seems to be a greater recognition now of the harms caused.

Children have a right to participate in decisionmaking that affects them. It will be important to ensure that there are mechanisms in place to support that process, and that they are resilient, even in times of crisis.

Read the full article about preserving children's rights by Michaela Bruckmayer at RAND Corporation.