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Guidance Note of the Secretary General on Child Rights Mainstreaming


31 July 2023


The UN Secretary General finalized a Guidance Note on Child Rights Mainstreaming in July 2023. This was preceded by the organization of a High-Level Panel on Child Rights Mainstreaming at the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council, held in February 2020.

The Guidance Note was drafted principally by the UNICEF and OHCHR, with the support of the Special Representatives of the Secretary General on Violence against Children and of Children in Armed Conflict, and considered inputs from other UN entities, children, and child rights civil society organizations.

The Guidance Note sets out specific recommendations on how to strengthen a child rights-based approach in the work of the United Nations – ensuring a coherent approach on integrating child rights across all pillars, and in all entities and at all levels. It encompasses UN system actions both in external advocacy, policies, and programmes, as well as internal operational policies and practices.

Grounded on the principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, its purpose is to ensure a UN system which is fully inclusive in the delivery of its mandate, including upholding all rights of all people, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and ensuring global peace and security. Its guiding principles are:

  1. Child rights are human rights.
  2. Child rights are everybody’s business across all three pillars of the UN.
  3. Children are distinct rights holders with specific set of rights.
  4. Child rights are indivisible, interdependent and interconnected.
  5. All UN action should give primary consideration to the best interests of the child.
  6. All UN action should promote equality and non-discrimination.
  7. UN action should promote and include meaningful child participation.
  8. The UN should promote accountability and redress for child rights violations.