The right of children and young people to recreation and play

Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is clear – “Every child has the right to relax, play, and take part in a wide range of cultural and artistic activities.” So why is this important in today’s society? Figures show that the gap between rich and poor is widening. What’s it like to grow up poor in the richest country in the world?

After almost a decade working for the right of children and young people to have real influence and good conditions for growing up, it has, over time, become increasingly challenging to achieve the Nordic Council of Ministers’ vision for the Nordic Region to be the best place in the world to grow up in. I think the answer lies in getting everyone together without excluding anyone from our community. Poverty is a hereditary disease, but we have the knowledge needed to cure it. I think our most important task is to give children and young people a wealth of experiences and learning.

During two rounds of Norden 0-30, the expert group has gained insight into a raft of projects that take children and young people seriously and which seek each and every day to realise the aims of Article 31 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child – the right to play, recreation, and culture. Being able to participate as children in activities that promote learning, meaning, and involvement can establish inroads into the labour market and social communities later in life. Informal and non-formal learning can also provide the qualifications that are needed in the Nordic Region of tomorrow.

The foundation for Norden 0-30 is the UN sustainable development goals – a joint work plan to eradicate poverty, fight inequality, and stop climate change before 2030. 2030 isn’t far away. We depend on things coming together effectively to enable us as a global community to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves. We therefore attach importance to how the goals are incorporated into the structures of the projects. However, the most important issue is how children and young people themselves have the opportunity to influence and set the direction of the projects. Children and young people are important today, not just tomorrow. So spread the word to passionate young people and those working with young people that there’s project funding available to apply for until 3 October!

Amund Røhr Heggelund
chairs the expert committee for the Norden 0-30 funding programme.