Scotland is hosting a youth-led conference of children’s commissioners across Europe

A young person stands in front of a brightly coloured image of Europe.

Our office is hosting a Europe-wide conference of children and young people’s commissioners and ombudspersons this week, with young people from several different countries leading and shaping the two days.

The ENOC conference gathers 43 children and young people’s commissioners from 34 UN Member States across Europe along with young advisers from 12 countries. This year, it’s being held virtually for the first time.

What is the ENOC Conference?

Every year, ENOC – the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children – runs a conference on a topic that impacts children and young people’s human rights across Europe.

It works with young people to develop a list of what needs to change, then sends its final recommendations to decision makers across the continent.

The conference is followed by ENOC’s Annual General Assembly on November 18th, where Commissioner Bruce Adamson will become Chair of the Network.

What’s the topic of the 2020 Conference?

This year’s topic is Children’s Rights Impact Assessments (CRIAs), a topic that our office and our young advisers have been working on this year.


Adults in power often make decisions that affect people― such as laws and policies. When they do this, they don’t always think about the impact these decisions will have on children and young people.

A Children’s Rights Impact Assessment, or CRIA,is a way to include children and young people in a decision. It looks at the ways the decision might affect the rights of children and young people― both positively and negatively.

By doing this, it means people know what the effect of the decision on children and young people is likely to be.

In July our office published our Independent Children’s Rights Impact Assessment looking at how Scotland’s laws and policies around coronavirus impacted the human rights of children and young people. It’s the largest CRIA of its kind that’s been done anywhere in the world.

And our Young Advisers did their own Rapid Impact Assessment on the decision to cancel exams in Scotland.

Who’s speaking at the conference?

This year’s conference features internationally-renowned speakers on children’s human rights. Speaking today are:

  • Dr Najat Maalla M’jid, United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children
  • Ms Afshan Khan, UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia Special Coordinator, Refugee and Migrant Response in Europe.

There will also be an Expert Panel discussion on Children’ s Rights Impact Assessments with:

  • Kay Tisdall, Professor of Childhood Policy at the University of Edinburgh,
  • Simon Hoffman, Professor of Legal Studies at Swansea University,
  • Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General of Eurochild,
  • Ceri Hunter, Senior Policy Advisor at the Scottish Government.

The discussion will be moderated by Maria and Hope, two of our amazing young advisers.

How are young people involved?

Young people are involved with the ENOC conference every year, working together on the issue in both their own countries and collaborating with other young advisers throughout the year. Young advisers from across Europe will be leading  sessions, moderating others, and sharing their own experiences to help attendees better understand what it’s like to be young in the world of 2020.

Earlier this year, young people from Scotland were among those involved in the European Network of Young Advisers (ENYA). This virtual event gathered views from young people across Europe about their role in decision making, and these will form an ENYA position statement that influences ENOC’s final recommendations.

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