Children as Actors for Transforming Society meets for the 4th edition: this year the focus will be on how children and young people can contribute to furthering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
CATS conference opens in the splendid Caux (Switzerland) Conference Centre with the commitment to foster policy change with future generations.
“We must enable children and young people to contribute to decision making. Everyone should be focused on policy making, not just those at the top,” said the CATS conference Director Jonathan Levy at the opening.
According to the United Nations (UN), an estimated 5.9 million children under 5 died in 2015; 1 in 8 people lived in extreme poverty in 2012; and 800 million people are suffering from hunger.
In 2015, UN Member States agreed on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development to fight poverty and hunger, to improve education and protect the environment. If we are to achieve these goals, children must be involved.
As SDGs’ implementation begins this year, CATS conference 2016 aims at supporting collaboration between children and adults in policy making. The title of the CATS conference is “Local to global: how will we influence policy?” and will run from 27 July to 1 August 2016.
Keynote speakers at CATS include MEP Julie Ward, the Polish Ombudsman for Children Marek Michalak, the child rights reporter Tako Rietveld and Esteban Quispe, an 18 year old who turns waste into robots, from Bolivia.
On its final day, CATS conference will release recommendations to governments and international bodies (e.g. UN, the Council of Europe and the European Union) on how working with children and adults together can help achieve SDGs.
Key moments will also include the CATS parliament on 29 July, when proposals on SDG-related participatory policies will be debated as well as the ‘Night of Change’ on 31 July, when the best of all policy proposals will be voted on.
CATS is a conference co-led and co-organised by adults, children and young people. This year CATS is hosting 310 participants, of whom more than half are children and young people.
Every year the conference gathers stakeholders, civil society organisations, representatives of international and governmental bodies as well as young delegations and families.
CATS is organised by Eurochild, Universal Education Foundation, Caux Foundation, Initiatives of Change and Child to Child. The conference is hosted every year by the CAUX-Initiatives of Change Foundation in the Swiss Alps.