“Childhood: Building Environments of Peace”

The  2XXIcongreso1st Pan American Child and Adolescent Congress as a organ of the Inter-American Children’s Institute (IIN), which meets every five years, responds to an IIN mandate contained in Resolution CD/RES  05  (88-R/13), approved at the 88th Regular Meeting of the Directing Council (September, 16-17, 2013, Medellin, Colombia)

Also, It was declared as “Inter-American Specialized Conference” by the Permanent Council of the OAS, through Resolution AG/Res 2836 , adopted by the 44th Regular Session of the OAS General Assembly.

With the purpose of promoting experience and knowledge sharing, in addition to making recommendations that will foster children’s well-being in the Americas, the member states of the Organization of American States (OAS) are planning to meet in Brasilia, Brazil, for the 21st Pan American Child and Adolescent Congress, to be held from 10 to 12 December 2014.

The key subject will be violence against children, under the title: “Childhood: Building Environments of Peace”

The Congress will focus on three core issues:

  • Violence against children. “Twenty-five years after the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child: building peaceful environments”.
  • Juveniles in conflict with the law and criminal liability systems.
  • The sexual exploitation of children.

The two latter scenarios involving violence are referred to in the Action Plan of the Inter-American Children’s Institute (IIN-OAS).

It is anticipated that delegations from the States will attend the Congress, and that these delegations will include: one head of delegation, alternate delegates, technical consultants who specialize in childhood, as well as adolescents between twelve and seventeen years of age. Special guests, as well as childhood experts and civil society organizations will also be present as observers.

The 89th Meeting of the Directing Council of the IIN-OAS will be held prior to the Congress, leading up to three days’ work which will include conferences, expert panels and presentations by the States, providing many opportunities for discussion and reflection.

All of this, with the objective of issuing a unified resolution, which will establish proposals and guidelines in support of the States, so that they may continue working on behalf of child rights in the region, within the framework of the issues addressed during the 21st Pan American Child and Adolescent Congress.

The 2nd Pan American Child Forum will also take place during the Congress. This provides an opportunity for the children of the region to give their opinions with regard to the thoughts and decisions agreed among the most senior authorities on childhood who are meeting at the Congress.

A civil society forum will also be held prior to the main event, August 12-13, San Salvador, El Salvador, with the participation of well-known international agencies and with the purpose of generating recommendations for the consideration of the national delegations and authorities, in preparation for the 21st Congress. This will take place in an atmosphere of discussion and consensus with officials from State institutions and the IIN-OAS, for the promotion and protection of child rights.

What is the Pan American Congress?

The Pan American Congress is a body of the Inter-American Children’s Institute (IIN), which meets every five years with the purpose of promoting the sharing of experience and knowledge in specialized subjects among the member states of the Inter-American System, in order to establish a regional agenda for the promotion and protection of children in the Americas and the Caribbean.

The history of the Pan American Child Congress goes back to the early twentieth century, when international congresses began to be held in Europe in order to address childhood-related subjects, a practice that subsequently extended to America.

In 1910, an International Scientific Congress was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at which a proposal was adopted of holding an American Child Congress under the auspices of the Argentine Scientific Society.

On 30 October 1915, in the same city, an Extraordinary General Assembly of subscribers decided to convene the First Pan American Child Congress, which included seven areas: law, health, psychology, education, mother and child care, sociology and industrial legislation.

Since 1916, Pan American Congresses have been opportunities for discussion, reflection and communication in which the progress achieved by the States in the hemisphere in relation to fulfilling child rights becomes apparent.

It represents a political and technical opportunity to examine the public policies, plans, projects and programmes implemented by the different governments of each of the member states of the OAS, as well as to underscore progress and pinpoint challenges still remaining regarding policies for children in the Americas.