Children and Youth
The countries of the Americas recognize that the development, protection and participation of the region’s children and youth is essential to ensure that they reach their full potential. With this in mind, they identified the following issues in the area of children and youth at each of the Summits of the Americas. 

Mar del Plata, Argentina, 2005
IV Summit of the Americas

At the
Fourth Summit of the Americas, the leaders of the Hemisphere committed to eradicating the worst forms of child labor. In the Declaration of Mar del Plata, leaders recognized the necessity of protecting children from economic exploitation and from any tasks that may interfere with their education and integral development.

In the
Plan of Action of Mar del Plata, Heads of State and Government, proposed to eliminate, by 2020, the worst forms of child labor. To this end, they agreed to strengthen national policies, create links between child labor eradication and other support programs, such as income support, extracurricular activities, and training.

Additionally, the leaders committed to strengthen their efforts in the development of specific policies for training, vocational training, reinsertion into the educational system, and the promotion of access of young people, of either gender, to their first job. In this sense, they agreed to promote targeting these programs, in particular, towards youths that are most vulnerable, whether because of low levels of education or low income.

In terms of education, Heads of State and Government established two distinct targets: to promote, by 2010, the completion of quality primary school education for all children and to create goals for the completion of quality middle-school education before 2007.

In the context of the regional cooperation framework to fight the production, trafficking and consumption of illicit drugs, the leaders agreed to develop and implement substance abuse prevention programs, such as “Life Skills,” for children and young people.




Monterrey, Mexico, 2004
Special Summit of the Americas

At the Special Summit of the Americas held in Monterrey, Mexico, the Heads of State and Government supported the adoption of programs for orderly migration as a factor of economic and social development; and agreed to cooperate in the fight against trafficking in persons, which especially affects women and children. Additionally, they agreed to take measures to fight the worst forms of child labor.



Quebec City, Canada, 2001
Third Summit of the Americas

In the Quebec City Summit of 2001, the importance of the children and youth of the Americas was highlighted.  At Quebec City, countries mandated the carrying out of conferences to study the well-being of this sector of the population and addressed the problem of international parental child abduction.  The Quebec City Plan of Action also stressed the continuing roles of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Inter-American Children’s Institute (IACI), and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in the promotion of the rights of children and youth. 


Santiago, Chile, 1998
Second Summit of the Americas

In Santiago, all the ideas of the Miami Summit were reiterated and strengthened.  This Summit also considered children and youth in the section on Hunger and Malnutrition. Here, highest priority was given to reducing and eventually eradicating infant malnutrition. 


Miami, Florida, USA, 1994 
First Summit of the Americas

In the Miami Summit of 1994, under the section entitled Promoting and Protecting Human Rights, several points were raised regarding protecting the safety and rights of children, including giving consideration to ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.  Heads of State and Government also outlined clear goals for the future of education in the Americas: to attain a 100% completion rate of primary school by the year 2010, to reach a 75% enrollment rate in secondary school and to prepare programs to eradicate illiteracy, prevent truancy and improve human resource training.  This Summit also stressed the need for healthcare for expectant mothers and newborns during and after a pregnancy.  

Third Summit of the Americas, Quebec City, Canada 2001



Children and Youth Mandates from the Third Summit of the Americas


Recognizing that promoting the rights of children and their development, protection and participation is essential to ensure that they reach their full potential; further recognizing the effectiveness and the need for intervention centered on protection against discrimination, inequity, abuse, exploitation and violence, especially of the most vulnerable and taking into account a gender perspective; asserting the importance of the cooperation endorsed at the Tenth Summit of Ibero American Heads of States and Governments in Panama, as well as the significant opportunity for progress for children in 2001 in the context of the Inter American Year of the Child and the Adolescent and the goals adopted at the 1990 World Summit for Children; and recognizing the vital contribution of the Convention of the Rights of the Child in the promotion and protection of children's rights, and the work undertaken by the Inter-American Children’s Institute (IACI):

  • Implement and support the commitments contained in the Agenda for War-Affected Children agreed to by 132 states at the International Conference on War-Affected Children held in Winnipeg, Canada, in September 2000, including fostering the active participation of children and adolescents in policy, dialogue and programming for children and adolescents affected by armed conflict and also encouraging the establishment of a network for them; consider additional ways to monitor, report on and advocate the protection, rights and welfare of children affected by armed conflict in the Hemisphere in conjunction with the IACHR's Rapporteur for Children's Rights;

  • Promote actions to establish, strengthen and implement public policies to ensure the well being and integral development of children and adolescents, and promote the convening of conferences, seminars and other national or multilateral activities dedicated to children and adolescents, especially throughout 2001 in the context of the Inter American Year of the Child and the Adolescent;

  • Ensure that every child in conflict with the law is treated in a manner consistent with his/her best interests, in accordance with our obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other relevant international human rights instruments, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; bear in mind the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice; and provide training opportunities, as appropriate, including gender sensitivity and human rights instruction, to those involved in the administration of justice;

  • Identify, share and promote best practices and approaches, particularly community based approaches aimed at supporting families, meeting the needs of children and adolescents at risk and protecting them from physical or mental abuse, injury or violence, discrimination, neglect, maltreatment, and exploitation, including sexual abuse, commercial exploitation and the worst forms of child labor as expressed in ILO Convention 182; in accordance with national legislation, develop national policies and models for rehabilitation or judicial systems for minors, incorporating initiatives for crime prevention, safeguarding the due process of law, and allowing access to institutions and programs for rehabilitation and reintegration of child and adolescent offenders into society and their families;

  • Endorse and seek cooperative means to advance the recommendations contained in the Kingston Consensus of the Fifth Ministerial Meeting on Children and Social Policy, held in Jamaica in October 2000, which represents the region's contribution to the UN Special Session for Children to be held in September 2001;

  • Encourage cooperation to reduce cases of international abduction of children by one of their parents; consider signing and ratifying, ratifying, or acceding to, as soon as possible and as the case may be, The Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, The Hague Convention of 29 May 1993 on Protection of Children and Co operation in respect of Inter-country Adoption, and the 1989 Inter American Convention on the International Return of Children; and comply with their obligations under these Conventions in order to prevent and remedy cases of international parental child abduction;

  • In order to protect and promote children's rights, develop and implement inter sectoral policies and programs, which may include the promotion of civil registration of all children, and allocate appropriate resources to undertake these tasks; establish and support cooperation amongst states as well as with civil society and young people to ensure effective implementation and monitoring of children's rights, including country appropriate indicators of the health, development, and well being of children, and through sharing best practices on reporting through national reports by States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child;

  • Promote consultation, participation and representation of young people in all matters affecting them by providing access to reliable information and opportunities for them to express their views and contribute to discussions in local, national, regional and international fora and events;

  • Reinforce the role of PAHO, the IACI, and the IACHR as technical advisors to the SIRG, on all aspects of children's issues, and recognize the importance of these institutions in follow up of relevant Summit recommendations.



Quebec Plan of Action (complete version):  English | Spanish | French | Portuguese

Key documents in the area of Children and Youth





LXXXIX Meeting of the Directing Council of the Inter-American Children Institute (IIN) and XIX Pan American Child CongressObservation Missions


The 79th Meeting of the Directing Council of the Inter-American Children Institute was held in Mexico City, October 25-26 2004. The Delegates elected the President, the Vice-President and the Executive Committee of the Directing Council for the 2004-2006 term. Ana Teresa Aranda Orozco, Delegate of Mexico, was elected President. Delia del Gatto Reyes, Delegate of Chile, was elected Vice-President and Ambassador Carmen Bergés de Amaro, Delegate of the Dominican Republic, was elected President  of Honor of the IIN Directing Council. Other elected Executive Committee members are Peru (representing the Andean Region), Paraguay (representing the Southern Cone), Honduras (representing Central America), Trinidad and Tobago (representing the English-speaking Caribbean) and Canada (representing North America). 

During this meeting, the delegates analyzed the Annual Report of the IIN to the Thirty-Fifth Regular Session of the OAS General Assembly, 2005 and the 2005-2008 Strategic Plan and Special Meeting of the Directing Council. They manifested also their solidarity to Paraguay for the tragedy caused by the fire at Ycuá Bolaños Supermarket. Moreover, a special meeting of the Directing Council was planned for April 2005 in Brasilia, Brazil to submit for its consideration the  Strategic Plan for the 2005-2008 term. The 80th Meeting of the Directing Council of the IIN is scheduled for October 2005, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. 

After the 79th Directing Council of the IIN, the Nineteenth Pan American Child Congress convened by the Inter-American Children’s Institute was held in Mexico City, October 27-29, 2004. The central theme chosen for this Congress was “The Family: Basis for the Integral Development of Children and Adolescents.” The Congress begun with an address from the Interim General Secretary of the OAS, Ambassador Luigi Einaudi who made some remarks about the theme of the conference and the importance of family in the development of Children. 

The participants integrated different working groups divided in six sub-themes, such as “The Family as the Institution with Primary Responsibility for Protection, Upbringing, and Integral Development of the Child”, “Evolution of the Child’s Relationship with the Family”, “The Doctrine of Integral Protection and Current Family Law”, “Family Violence and its Impact on Child Development”, “Promoting a Culture of Respect for Children’s Rights: The Roles of the Family, the State, Civil Society, and the Media”. 

For more information please click here. 

To view the Report of the Inter-American children's Institute to the General Assembly on the situation of Children and the Family in the Americas for 2003, please click here


Round Table on the legal status and human rights of children and adolescents under the Inter-American System


More than one hundred judges, prosecutors, lawyers, legislators, academics from Argentina, Chile and Uruguay gathered in Montevideo, Uruguay, this past May 8th, 2003 for a Round Table on the legal status and human rights of children and adolescents under the inter-American system. The meeting was held in light of the "Consulted Opinion OC-17/2002" that was released by the Inter-American Court on August 28, 2002 as a result of the petition of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), addressing the "Human rights and juridical condition of children".


Report of the State of the World's Children 2003 


The UNICEF report on the State of the World's Children for 2003 focuses on child participation or the "right of all children to have their opinions taken into account when decisions that affect them are made". The report concluded that child participation involves encouraging and empowering boys and girls so that they express their views on the issues that affect them. The participation leads to adults listening to children and this process ensures the freedom of the child to expressed itself and assume their standpoints when decisions pertaining them are made. Involving children in this dialogue and the exchange of ideas then makes it possible for them to "learn constructive ways of influencing the world that surrounds them." The report also presents examples of significant child participation from all the regions of the world.

For more information on this report, click


Meeting on Boosting Integration of Children with Disabilities in MERCOSUR

The Inter-American Children's Institute (IIN) organized a meeting on November 21-22, 2002, which took place in Montevideo, Uruguay. The purpose of the meeting was to analyze measures for a greater social integration of children with disabilities. Specialists from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay attended.

Present state of public policies for the educational and social inclusion for the children with disabilities were discussed. They also examined the adapting process of the National norms, treaties and international conventions. According to statistics from the IIN, 10 percent (around 20 million) of the children living in Latin America and the Caribbean suffer from some type of disability and of these, 12 million live in poverty.


IV Ibero-American Conference of Ministers and High Level Authorities Responsible for Policies on Children and Youth  


The IV Ibero-American Conference of Ministers and High Level Authorities Responsible for Policies on Children and Youth took place in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on October 28-30, 2002. Participants at this event included government authorities, Ibero-American ministers and representatives from the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), International Labor Organization (OIT), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

The objective of this event was to identify the financial mechanisms that guarantee the human resources, technicians and economists necessary for the implementation of the plans of action of the Inter-American Agenda for Children. They also evaluated the efforts currently being made by countries in the region, which influence and establish priorities in the area of children and youth.  Finally, they also analyzed the cooperation and investment experiences through international organisms. 

ECLAC and UNICEF, with the support of the Secretariat for Ibero-American Cooperation, presented the document "New Challenges to Improve the Quality of Life of Girls, Boys and Ibero-American Youth", which defined the basis for the regional project development with regards to issues of children and youth, were defined. 

The Conference closed with the approval of the Santo Domingo Declaration, which is a judicial instrument that will be used to implement the Ibero-American Agenda for Children and Youth.


Governmental Meeting of Experts on International Abduction of Minors by one of their Parents


In fulfillment of a Quebec City Summit mandate to work to reduce cases of international child abduction, the
Inter-American Children’s Institute (IACI) organized a Governmental Meeting of Experts on International Abduction of Minors by one of their Parents, which took place in Montevideo, Uruguay, on August 12-13, 2002.  The purpose of the two-day meeting was to examine the international practice of enforcing the regulatory instruments related to the international abduction of minors by one of their parents, as well as to carry out an analysis of the current status of this phenomenon in the Americas.

In preparation for the meeting, the IACI made several preparatory documents available on this issue and its importance for the governments of the Americas.  Along with a Newsletter on the August meeting, the IACI has also published a report on the International Abduction of Minors in the Americas by one of their Parents, a paper on the Inter-American Program on Cooperation to Prevent and Remedy Cases of International Abduction of Minors by one of their Parents and the agenda for the meeting. 


77th Meeting of the Directing Council of the Inter-American Children's Institute


At the 77th meeting of the Directing Council of the Inter-American Children’s Institute (the IIN, or Instituto Interamericano del Niño) held May 13-15, 2002 in Washington, D.C., important steps were taken to promote the success and health of the children of the Americas. The meeting included the participation of Member States delegates and experts on children’s affairs, and was able to utilize information and progress made at the May 8-10, 2002 UN Special Session on Children held in New York City, New York. The main objective of the 77th IIN meeting was to promote a healthier standard of living for the children of the Western Hemisphere while eradicating the most serious of problems many of these children face daily.

Issues addressed included the problems of child labor, sexual exploitation of children and the situation of children living in the street. Importantly, the interconnectedness of these issues was addressed as a focal point for OAS Member States’ efforts as an area in which to facilitate and promote change. In addition to the aforementioned areas of concern, the IIN’s ‘Strategic Plan’ gives priority to combating problems of juvenile drug and alcohol dependencies and in promoting the social and educational integration/inclusion of children with disabilities and handicaps.

At the meeting it was decided that the 78th meeting of the Directing Council of the Inter-American Children’s Institute would be held in Santiago, Chile in March of 2003. For more information regarding the Inter-American Children’s Institute, please visit their Web site at, and for information regarding resolutions passed at the 77th meeting of the Directing Council, visit


United Nations Special Session on Children


On May 8-10, 2002, the United Nations (UN) held their Special Session on Children, where government leaders, Heads of State, civil society organizations, child advocates and children themselves met to discuss progress made since the 1990 World Summit for Children and renew their commitment to serving and protecting the children of the world. 

The official meeting included three distinct parts: a debate, where participants were allowed to present their ideas in the plenary; an ad hoc committee of the whole; and a set of three round tables, to discuss the theme Renewal of commitment and future action for children in the next decade.  

The Special Session was also accompanied by other supporting events, including a Religious Leader’s Symposium, a Parliamentary Forum, a Forum on Women’s Leadership for Children, a Panel on Financing a World Fit for Children and a Celebration of Leadership for Children.  Immediately prior to the Special Session approximately 400 children from around the world gathered to discuss key actions for children.  They had a chance to comment and make suggestions on the document that eventually came out of the Special Session on Children, entitled A World Fit for Children.  

To see more information on this UN meeting, including its agenda and other background information please click here.  To see other documents related to this meeting, you can click here, as well. 

For more information on this event, please click here





XXXIII OAS General Assembly
Santiago, Chile
June 8-10, 2003



XXXII OAS General Assembly
Bridgetown, Barbados
June 2-4, 2002


  • AG/RES. 1891 (XXXII-O/02) Inter-American Program of Cooperation to Prevent and Remedy Cases of International Abduction of Minors by One of Their Parents

    This Resolution urges Member States to sign and ratify the Hague Convention of the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction among others. It also calls on the Inter-American Children’s Institute to convene in August 2002, in order to discuss child abduction with government experts. In addition, the Resolution asks that the meeting include a discussion on the preparation of the Inter-American Program on Cooperation to Prevent and Remedy Cases of International Abduction of Minors by One of Their Parents.




XXXI OAS General Assembly
San José, Costa Rica
June 3-5, 2001