Access to Modern Energy Services through the Prism of Children’s Rights: An Overview from the Perspectives of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Policy and Law Approaches of Certain EU Member States and Ukraine
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The aims of this research are: to explore the connection between the right to access to modern energy services and children’s rights, as stipulated by the Convention on the Rights of the Child; to analyze how the rights of children are addressed in the energy policy and law of certain EU Member States and Ukraine; and to develop recommendations on how to make national energy policy and law more child-sensitive. To achieve these goals, the following objectives were set: 1) to explore the correlation between the right to access to modern energy services and children’s rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child; 2) to analyze the Integrated National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) of certain EU Member States in order to find out how children’s rights are addressed in policy and law and to identify the most common practices; 3) to analyze the current and prospective legislation in Ukraine that relates to children’s rights to modern energy services; and 4) to develop recommendations on how to make national energy policy and law more child-sensitive. The main results of this research are: 1) access to modern energy services is vital for children’s enjoyment of their rights (e.g., the right to life, survival, and development, the right to health, the right to education, the right to adequate housing, the right to be protected from any form of violence, neglect, or negligence, and the right to be heard); 2) states shall specifically address issues of children’s rights (in particular, by tackling energy inequality, considering the risks for the concrete category of children, targeting certain rights of children that depend on access to modern energy services, and introducing concrete actions and outcome indicators) in the strategic documents and legal acts that relate to universal access to modern energy services; 3) the social protection of low-income families with children in the form of discounts for energy bills and state support for the implementation of energy efficiency improvement measures in residential buildings (as mechanisms for tackling energy poverty), the encouragement of the energy renovation of pre-school and school buildings, and the development of special educational tools on sustainable energy for pupils are considered the most common practices in certain EU Member States; 4) whilst Ukrainian energy policy and law includes some instruments that relate to children’s rights as energy consumers, it lacks a complete approach; and 5) the energy policy and law of Ukraine should specifically address children’s rights as energy consumers, specifically those based on the common approaches used in EU Member States, in order to consider the peculiarities of children’s energy needs.
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