Emirates News Agency – UAE shares same goals to protect children’s rights, empower youth: European Commission VP for Democracy & Demography
By Hatem Hussein
DUBAI, 4th November, 2021 (WAM) — The European Union wants to “partner closely” with the UAE on the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, women and youth empowerment, and protection of children, the European Commission Vice-President for Democracy and Demography said.
In exclusive statements to the Emirates News Agency (WAM), Dubravka Šuica hailed the UAE’s efforts to entail “very concrete actions and ensure law enforcement measures for child abuse,” singling out in this regard the UAE’s child rights law ‘Wadeema’.
“The law has very similar objectives as our strategy and indeed the European Child Guarantee, which we adopted this year as part of the Child rights strategy. Also within the EU, we deal with inequality and social economic exclusion. So, with this child guarantee we commit to help lift children and their families out of poverty and ensure that every child has an equal start in life. I am very glad to see that we share the same objectives.”
The UAE’s child rights law, she continued “protects children against all forms of negligence, exploitation, physical and psychological abuses – so does our child rights strategy in the EU. We set out concrete actions and initiatives that step up the protection of children from all forms of violence, both in the public and in the private sphere, online and offline. This also includes domestic abuse, which has increased during COVID -19 induced confinement. We will also propose a new initiative for integrated child protection systems. Too many children world-wide are still suffering from violence. This is unacceptable in any society. In this context, I am very glad to see that the “Wadeema” law entails very concrete actions and also law enforcement measures for child abuse.”
Šuica was in the UAE to attend a range of events in Expo 2020 Dubai and had bilateral meetings with UAE officials.
“As we slowly emerge from the global COVID-19 pandemic, it is all the more important to strengthen the link between the realisation of child rights, the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030. I am glad to see that the UAE and the EU share a similar approach and vision and look forward to our cooperation in this matter.”
She underlined the significance of the UAE holding a seat in the UN Security Council. “The UAE is an important partner for the EU to foster multilateralism, especially as it takes its seat in the UN Security Council. The challenges of the 21st century call for more multilateral governance and rules-based international cooperation.
“The UN Agenda 2030 and the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the SDGs, women and youth empowerment feature prominently in EU’s engagement at Expo 2020. We want to partner closely with the UAE on this topic. I was very encouraged to see youth being a key theme of Expo 2020, with a specific pavilion dedicated to this.
“We also want to strengthen people-to-people contacts, which can greatly contribute to deepen our understanding of each other. So far, the main challenge for more enhanced people-to-people contacts has been lack of information for Emirati youth about the mobility and research opportunities between UAE and Europe.”
The European official highlighted the possibility of Emirati youth benefiting from Erasmus+, a programme that provides opportunities for study periods abroad, traineeships, apprenticeships, and staff exchanges in all fields of education.
“Recently, the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen announced that 2022 will be the European Year of Youth, which makes it an ideal occasion to foster closer cooperation in this field with partners worldwide, including the UAE. In this context, we are also working on the Youth Action Plan in the EU’s external action. With this initiative, we will focus on empowering and engaging children, teenagers and youth in our societies early on, so that young people become real partners and stakeholders, also outside the EU. Erasmus+ allows them to participate in short-term exchanges for higher education studies or traineeships in Europe’s top institutions through our International Credit Mobility scheme, while they can also benefit from full scholarships to pursue a Master’s degree with Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters.
“All of these opportunities are open to Emirati youth. This is why we are planning an information campaign about our mobility programmes. The campaign will be organised throughout 2022 in cooperation with the EU Delegations in the Gulf region. In all this, I cannot stress the need to empower of girls and young women enough. I was truly impressed by the women’s pavilion at Expo Dubai and I look forward to a close cooperation on both topics.”
She commended the UAE’s prowess in convening global events, like Expo.
“Expo 2020 Dubai, and indeed the UAE, has an impressive convening power, attracting global leaders, heads of states, experts and key actors from all professions and walks of life and uniting them around issues that impact each and every one of us. The focus on sustainability and empowerment of women, two of the themes chosen for Expo 2020 are truly universal and of great importance across cultures. All of us need to work together to find solutions for the benefit of humanity to the taking into account local circumstances and cultures. Expo 2020 presents inspirational examples as a basis for this global dialogue across cultures and civilisations.”
The European official also lauded the crucial work being carried out in the UAE to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am impressed by the low infection rates and high vaccination rates in the UAE and hopeful that this reality can be sustained. To return to international activity in a more meaningful way we will need to ensure global availability of vaccines. We should all do our part to help speed up the rollout to our international partners and those in need. In the pandemic no one is safe until all of us are safe,” she concluded.
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