Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs)  and Children’s Parliament (MCPs)  are today meeting with the First Minister and her Cabinet in the sixth annual Cabinet Meeting with Children and Young People (Cabinet Takeover).
MSYPs and MCPs have a crucial role to play in communicating the views of their generations to the most senior politicians in Scotland. This year’s meeting is set against the backdrop of Scotland’s preparations to incorporate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into Scots Law. The UNCRC protects the right for children and young people to have their views taken into consideration on issues that impact them.
Cabinet Takeover is an opportunity for Scotland’s children and young people to have their rights realised as the Scottish Government listen to speeches from children and young people and act on the calls made by MSYPs and MCPs.
Speaking before the event, First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said:
“I am delighted to be chairing the sixth annual meeting of the Children and Young People’s Cabinet. These meetings allow myself and my Ministerial colleagues to genuinely engage with our children and young people at a national level and ensure they are heard and are at the heart of decisions which affect them.
“The Children’s Parliament and the Scottish Youth Parliament do exceptional work in helping our children and young people to confidently express their views and have a real influence on the issues that matter most to them.
“This event ensures we are listening to children and young people, whilst working with partners, to prepare Scotland for the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into Scots law to the maximum extent possible.”
Josh Kennedy, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, said:
“Young people have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic and it’s impacts on education and mental health. With those challenges continuing, we now face a cost of living crisis and the accelerating climate emergency that will impact young people most.
“Today’s meeting is an opportunity for Ministers to hear about these topics, and more, directly from children and young people. But it will only matter if we see action to address the issues raised and I’m looking forward to seeing what’s done to ensure young people’s views are taken into account in the year ahead.”
Cathy McCulloch, Co-Director of the Children’s Parliament said:
“Our MCPs are looking forward to their first meeting with the First Minister and her Cabinet colleagues, taking over from the great work done by their predecessors over the past 5 years. They are keen to see some real action being taken in response to their Calls for Action.
“They feel very strongly about the issues they are raising and we fully support these as they represent issues many children have raised through Children’s Parliament programmes across Scotland.”
In advance of the meeting, an MCP commented:
“I am bursting with joy [about going to Cabinet]!”
Member of Children’s Parliament, age 10
Today, the children and young people attending will call for action from the Scottish Government to protect their rights, a fairer education system, action to tackle the climate emergency, their mental health and more.
In past meetings, MCPs and MSYPs have spoken on topics ranging from equal protection, to listening to young people from seldom-heard groups, to mental health. One consistent thread throughout has been the importance of recognising children and young people’s rights, including their article 12 rights to be heard on issues that affect them.