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25th Anniversary - Activities

Preliminary programme and Timetable
Untitled Document

Welcome to the new DCI-IS website

On the occasion of its 25th Anniversary, DCI International Secretariat is organising an International Symposium: "The rights based approach to international cooperation: a child rights perspective"
22 & 23 November 2004, Geneva

General Presentation

The term “rights based approach” refers to a series of international juridical instruments that establish a basic framework of rights. Some of the most frequently quoted are (among many other):  

  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
  • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
  • The Convention on the Rights of the Child.

In a more general way, by “rights based approach” one could understand a juridical, binding oriented way of looking at socio-economic problems and the challenges that they represent for state authorities. It is a way of emphasizing the obligation of authorities to deliver results, but it is also a way of accentuating the importance of empowering individuals to gain access to decision making levels, with their claims and aspirations.

A rights based approach, when applied to child rights, underlines the importance of paying serious attention to the Convention on the Rights of the Child as a juridical instrument and to the Committee of the Rights of the Child as a the institutional framework designed to enforce countries’ compliance with the convention.

The international community monitors and encourages the compliance of countries with these international instruments using a series of mechanisms. Linking international cooperation policies to human rights standards is one of them.

The expression “rights based approach” has gained considerable momentum in the milieu of multilateral organizations, NGOs, academic institutions dealing with development issues and the foreign affairs’ ministries of donor countries.

The fact that the World Bank has introduced the “rights based approach” into its official terminology is maybe the most important driving force behind the popularisation of the concept, since it is being built into their criteria to allocate financial resources for developing nations. However, what is there behind the “rights based approach” when it comes to child rights?

A rights based approach to international cooperation seeks to give people the political, institutional and material means to independently demand, exercise and monitor their rights and to actively participate in the decision making processes. These are but principles of what is normally considered good governance. Nevertheless, what happens with these indicators when the population targeted is under 18 years of age? How is participation enforced when it comes to children? What is the view of donors and NGOs on this subject?

One could argue that child rights violations are not measured in the same terms as other more protuberant human rights violations and that precisely for that reason, they need extra-attention. In this respect, what is the role of NGOs which concentrate their work on education and participation? Are they playing a role that could be measured in terms of a contribution towards economic development?

At a certain point of this analysis, it all becomes a matter of introducing indicators that allow decision-makers to measure the extent to which policies of international cooperation have an impact on child rights.

In order to enable policy makers and practitioners to address these and other issues, DCI is convening an international symposium under the theme of “The rights based approach to International Cooperation: a child rights perspective”.

By convening this symposium, DCI wishes to commemorate the 25 th Anniversary of its foundation and the 15 th year of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

A good, short reference is « Definition of Rights Based Approach to Development » published by InterAction (American Council for Voluntary International Action) available on their website :


By convening this international symposium DCI seeks to:


  1. Facilitate an exchange of experiences between donor countries, donor agencies and the NGO community on the impact of the rights based approach on enforcing child rights when applied to international cooperation projects;
  2. Focus the discussion of the rights based approach on the following relevant topics in order to measure progress, acknowledge shortcomings and recognise failures:


  • Child participation
  • The right to education
  • Juvenile justice
  • Child labour
  • Child trafficking
  • Child soldiers
  • Sexual abuse

3. Listen to decision makers from donor countries and donor agencies on the way in which a rights based approach impacts international cooperation projects on the field of child rights.

4. Listen to representatives from multilateral organizations and aid-recipient countries on their views on the impact of the rights based approach on economic cooperation schemes.

Preliminary Programme

Side events

Photo Exhibition

No(rmal) childhood in Palestine?

Los niños y niñas NO queremos estar en la guerra

More information about this symposium will be posted soon on this page!

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