The CBSS Expert Group on Children at Risk (CAR)
The role of the CBSS Expert Group on Children at Risk embraces the two fundamental pillars of CBSS – political dialogue between States and practical cooperation based on tangible projects.
The Expert Group on Children at Risk acts as convenor, driver, initiator, coordinator and facilitator to stimulate dialogue and exchange on cross-border concerns, to develop and nurture strategic partnerships and to contribute to the development and implementation of tangible projects.
The Expert Group works closely with representatives from national authorities, civil society, international and regional organisations, professionals, academia and engages in close cooperation with other units at the CBSS Secretariat.
The Expert Group is the governing body of the Children at Risk Unit at the Council of the Baltic Sea States. It meets at least twice a year, develops the mandate, budget and yearly plan of activities that are implemented by the Children at Risk Unit.
We convene national, regional and global actors to exchange information on emerging, developing and ongoing initiatives, to explore joint opportunities and to engage key stakeholders in practical projects. This work effectively contributes to ensuring that potential overlaps are transformed into helpful synergies, trusted partnerships and joint and harmonised action.
Our work draws on, and contributes to relevant legal and policy frameworks, authoritative guidance, ethical and safe data collection and the voices of children and youth. We take note of relevant global, regional and the Expert Group members’ national agendas, goals and strategies, to ensure strategic direction, complementarity and added value in achieving global, regional and national commitments to children.
Strategic areas and priorities
The Expert Group commits to ensuring that child participation is a cross-cutting priority in all our work. During this mandate, the Expert Group will promote and explore concrete methodologies for ethical and meaningful child participation in the context our work, promoting the inclusion of children, including children who are marginalised and/or particularly vulnerable.
In playing our role, the expert group supports awareness-raising to promote positive attitudes, norms and values to safeguard the rights of children. The expert group furthermore promotes integrated strategies, including sustainable measures that have been demonstrated to contribute to real positive change in the lives of children at risk:
- Prevention, Early Intervention and rapid response at first signs of harm
- Tailor-made Multidisciplinary Response and Support Services
- Encouraging a positive justice, law and policy setting
- Safe environments
- Parent and caregiver support
- Education and life skills, including investment in early childhood education
The Expert Group and the CAR Unit at the CBSS Secretariat is fully committed the mission of keeping children protected and safeguarded from actions that place them at risk of violence, abuse, exploitation, injury and any other harm.
The Expert Group consists of senior officials from the line ministries dealing with children’s issues or designated agencies in the Member States of the Council of the Baltic Sea States plus the European Commission. The Member States are Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia and Sweden. The chairmanship rotates on an annual basis and follows the CBSS Presidency rotation.
Cooperation on children at risk in the Baltic Sea region began in 1998 and was included as part of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) in 2002. Since then, the Expert Group has expanded its scope from concentrating on sexual exploitation of children to a broader content and activities for child rights and protection.
Information on the yearly activities of the Expert Group on Children at Risk and the Children at Risk Unit can be found under Annual reports.