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The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) was introduced on 20 November 1989. This important document is the most complete statement of children’s rights ever produced and is the most widely-ratified international human rights treaty in history.

The UNCRC’s 54 articles cover all aspects of a child’s life and set out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights; all children in 194 countries that ratified the Convention are entitled to those rights. The document also explains how adults and governments must work together to make sure all children can enjoy all their rights. The UNCRC came into force in the United Kingdom in 1992.

Here at PAS, we recognise and wish to raise awareness of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on this important anniversary. Our work to do with the inclusion and participation of children and young people in decision making, and in planning for the future of their communities is closely aligned with the objectives of the UNCRC.

By creating opportunities for young people to get involved in developing the future of their communities and have ownership of their towns and villages, we help young people become active citizens.

Our education programmes align with the Curriculum for Excellence and are guided by the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act, the Planning (Scotland) Act and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which all call for greater inclusion of young people in decisions that affect them and their place.

The variety of our education programmes (IMBY, YEP! and Young Placemakers) and youth engagement projects (Bridging the Gap, Past Protectors, European Youth Camp) ensures that children and young people have the opportunity to have their say in placemaking, and acquire the tools and confidence needed to do so.

Our education team works with schools, youth groups and those in higher education, with a focus on including seldom-heard voices. Our inclusive approach to working with young people and children unlocks their enthusiasm for getting involved and influencing the decisions which directly affect their lives.

In turn, this allows public services to be shaped and improved by children and young people, as well as the wider community. This is important, as the nature of planning and placemaking means that children and young people will live the longest with the decisions made today.

Through our work, aligned with the UNCRC, in particular Article 12, children and young people:

  • learn about the planning decision making process and the important role of community engagement
  • become more confident in taking a role in discussions about the future of their local community as active citizens
  • are better prepared to input into Local Development Plans and Local Place Plans (coming soon under the Planning [Scotland] Act 2019)
  • are more likely to become lifelong active citizens, and more involved in local civic engagement

To find out more, please contact PAS Youth Programmes Manager, Wojciech Borowski. Or read one of our blog posts about our contribution to the 2018 Year of Young People.