Students at the “25 de Junho” School, located in Beira, Mozambique.
Students at the “25 de Junho” School, located in Beira, Mozambique. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Around the world, children are showing us their strength and leadership advocating for a more sustainable world for all. Let’s build on advances and re-commit to putting children first. For every child, every right.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres

World Children’s Day was first established in 1954 as Universal Children's Day and is celebrated on 20 November each year to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children's welfare.

November 20th is an important date as it is the date in 1959 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. It is also the date in 1989 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Since 1990, World Children's Day also marks the anniversary of the date that the UN General Assembly adopted both the Declaration and the Convention on children's rights.

Mothers and fathers, teachers, nurses and doctors, government leaders and civil society activists, religious and community elders, corporate moguls and media professionals, as well as young people and children themselves, can play an important part in making World Children's Day relevant for their societies, communities and nations.

World Children's Day offers each of us an inspirational entry-point to advocate, promote and celebrate children's rights, translating into dialogues and actions that will build a better world for children.

This year is extra special, marking the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. A time to celebrate and a time to demand action for child rights. What will you do?

Thirty years ago, world leaders made an historic commitment to the world’s children by adopting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child – an international agreement on childhood. 

It’s become the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history and has helped transform children’s lives around the world. 

But still not every child gets to enjoy a full childhood; too many childhoods are cut short. 

It is up to our generation to demand that leaders from government, business and communities fulfil their commitments and take action for child rights now, once and for all. They must commit to making sure every child, has every right.

 

International days are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. More information available here.
 

Portrait of UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore with these words in the background: "child rights, migration, trust, climate change" among others.

As we look back on 30 years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, we also look ahead to the next 30 years. "We must listen to you – today’s children and young people – about the issues of greatest concern to you now and begin working with you on twenty-first century solutions to twenty-first century problems." With that in mind, here are eight reasons why UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore is worried for children's future, and eight reasons why she thinks there is hope.