What is the Global Movement for Children?

The Global Movement for Children (GMC) is an international organisation which aims at uniting efforts from organisations, people and children to build a world fit for children.

The GMC was created as a result of the outstanding success of the “Say Yes for Children” campaign which led to the UN Special Session on Children in 2002 resolving to help mobilize citizens of every nation, families, communities and civil society organisations of every kind within a Global Movement for Children

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What is the history of the GMC?

The Child Rights Movement has existed since the early years of the twentieth century when individuals, public institutions and NGOs began to unite their efforts to improve the fate of children around the world. In recent years the Movement has seen a dramatic growth and gained greater coherence with the drafting and entry into force of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) passed on the 30th anniversary of the ‘Declaration of the Rights of the Child’.

It was at the time of the Special Session that the name Global Movement for Children (GMC) was first coined, as more than 94 million people voted in the Say Yes for Children campaign on actions to improve the lives of the world’s children.

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What did the UN agree at the Special Session for Children in 2002?

In 2002, the General Assembly of the United Nations agreed the following:

Article 62: "We hereby recommit ourselves to spare no effort in continuing with the creation of a world fit for children, building on the achievements of the past decade and guided by the principles of first call for children. In solidarity with a broad range of partners, we will lead a Global Movement for Children that creates an unstoppable momentum for change." Article 62, Section D, A World Fit for Children, Report of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Children (A/S-27/19/Rev.1)
Which organisations are working in support of the Global Movement for Children?

Everyone willing to act in favour of child rights can be part of the Global Movement for Children. The name, logo and principles of the Global Movement are offered to all who stand for the rights of children as a means of displaying solidarity and as a banner under which to rally. By joining the Global Movement for Children at the “Join Us” section you are adhering to the GMC’s principles and will automatically become part of the GMC.

How does the Convening Committee (CC) address child rights issues?

This group has the following approaches, which in many ways may also reflect the approaches of much of the rest of the Global Movement:

  1. Child Rights-based approach: the CC focuses on the realisation of child rights as defined by the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The recognition of this approach implies that there is no compromise possible on child rights and that the CC is assertive in their defence.
  2. Children's participation: Child participation is at the heart of the activities of the CC. The best advocates for children are children themselves. Those who are marginalised, vulnerable or living in poverty are better able to understand how this affects their daily lives, and should be able to fully participate in planning and implementing solutions. Children have an active role in the GMC, mainly at the local and national levels but also at the international level, thus ensuring their involvement in the governance of the GMC as well as in its activities.
  3. Gender equity: Girls and boys have the same rights and the CC works for the attainment of such principle. This implies an approach that is gender sensitive and that pays particular attention to the rights of girls. In addition, the CC pays special attention to the respect of diversity, pluralism, tolerance and the search for conviviality, in an approach focused at eliminating all forms of discrimination.
  4. Multisectoral and holistic approach: These organisations integrate very different constituencies in order to promote a movement aiming to build a far reaching constituency in favour of children. The group seeks to build partnerships with those existing national, regional and international coalitions advocating for children's rights. It has a holistic approach, avoiding adopting partial viewpoints and recognising the indivisibility of children rights.
  5. Institutional and long term reform: These organisations collectively pay particular attention to advocacy. In this sense, they focus on lobbying for institutional change to create the conditions for the full implementation of the Convention of the Rights of the Child.
  6. Locally rooted, globally relevant: The is participatory in nature and considers the impact it can have at the local and national levels as the basis for its global relevance. This is why the work of the CC starts at the community level and builds on it to impact globally.


Who are the members of the GMC and how can others register and contribute?

The GMC is not a membership organisation. It is made up of the Convening Committee Members (Enda Tiers Monde, Plan International, Redlamyc, Save the Children, World Vision and Unicef) and it allows people and organisations to adhere to its principles and values. By formally registering with the GMC, people and organisations will be part of the directory and be kept regularly informed of what others are doing, and how to be part of regional and international processes related to child rights. Registered organisations will be asked to get involved in some of the GMC's international campaigns and consultations.

Who can use the logo of the GMC?

The name and the logo are offered to all who stand for the rights of children, as a means of displaying their solidarity and as a banner under which to rally. Anyone and everyone who works for the realisation of child rights as defined by the Convention on the Rights of the Child is encouraged to use the name and the logo.

What brings together and unites the organisations that comprise the Global Movement for Children? What do the organisations get out of it?

The glue that holds together the GMC is the aspiration for the full realisation of the Convention of the Rights of the Child – the most universal human rights instrument focused specifically on children. It also fully subscribes to the provisions of the two optional protocols - on the involvement of children in armed conflicts and on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography - drafted and adopted in 2000. Alone, no organisation can realise this vision.

Many children’s rights-related issues have already been articulated and campaigns are under way to realise them, such as campaigns on debt relief or education for all. Over the past decade, countless partners have adopted a rights-based approach to their work with children and, together, have achieved significant progress. Examples include the campaign against landmines, the campaign to stop the use of child soldiers and efforts to address child exploitation and other forms of violence against children.

Can we fundraise through the Global Movement for Children?

The Global Movement for Children is a way to increase the total pool of resources available for children. The GMC is not about fundraising but if it succeeds in creating greater awareness of children's rights, and greater commitment to meeting those rights, it should create a more favourable environment in which all such organisations may seek and secure support for their work. However, the Secretariat of the Global Movement for Children is not a grant-giving body.

How can a private sector company participate in the Movement?

The Global Movement for Children is not a membership organisation but an alliance of protagonists who share a common aim. There is space for all who want to make the world a better place for children. Join us as an organisation or individual with the GMC here and let us know what you are doing to make a world fit for children.

What role do Nelson Mandela and Graça Machel have in the Global Movement for Children?

Nelson Mandela and Graça Machel are the patrons of the GMC, its visible spokespeople and its inspirational leaders. As the key players in the Global Movement for Children, Machel and Mandela engage political, civil society, youth, religious and other leaders in the campaign to improve the lives of children throughout the world. Machel and Mandela act as catalysts in moving these leaders from rhetoric to a series of specific commitments, actions and outcomes intended to increase the well-being of children.

What is the Convention on the Rights of the Child?

The Convention on the Rights of the Child, often referred to as CRC or UNCRC, is the first legally binding international instrument, passed by the United Nations in 1989, with a sole focus on the right of children; it defines civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of children. Nations that ratify this international convention are bound to it by international law. The four core principles of the Convention are non-discrimination; devotion to the best interests of the child; the right to life, survival and development; and respect for the views of the child. Compliance is monitored by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.

As of November 2009, 194 countries have ratified, accepted, or acceded to it (some with stated reservations or interpretations) including every member of the United Nations except Somalia and the United States. Somalia has announced that it would shortly do so.

The GMC supports full realization of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

What is ‘Say YES for Children’ campaign?

Launched on April 16th 2001, this campaign asked millions of people throughout the world to pledge their support for the Rallying Call for the Global Movement for Children (GMC).

The campaign sought to rally people behind 10 principles (imperatives) that seek to improve and protect the lives of children. They are:


  1. Leave No Child Out
  2. Put Children First
  3. Care for Every Child
  4. Fight HIV/AIDS
  5. Stop Harming & Exploiting Children
  6. Listen to Children
  7. Educate Every Child
  8. Protect Children from War
  9. Protect the Earth for Children
  10. Fight Poverty: Invest in Children

More than 94 million people from 194 countries signed up for ‘Say Yes for Children’ campaign. Through the vote, they altogether agreed that education (imperative 2) must be the top priority if children are to be assured a brighter future.

The messages of the 'Say Yes for Children' campaign, gathered from local communities and from cyberspace, were presented during the UN Special Session on Children in May 2002. A group of children put forward the campaign results to Nelson Mandela and Graça Machel. The 10 imperatives that were voted on in the campaign became the basis for 'A World Fit for Children' - the outcome document of the UN Special Session.

The campaign inspired an unprecedented grassroots movement which connected children, their parents and their grandparents with families in cities and villages in countries and continents across the world, who joined together to commit themselves to building a world fit for children.

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