A nation is democratic to the extent that its citizens are involved, particularly at the community level. The confidence and competence to be involved must be gradually acquired through practice. It is for this reason that there should be gradually increasing opportunities for children to participate in any aspiring democracy, and particularly in those nations already convinced that they are democratic. With the growth of children’s rights we are beginning to see an increasing recognition of children’s abilities to speak for themselves. Regrettably, while children’s and youths’ participation does occur in different degrees around the world, it is often exploitative or frivolous.
To help deal with the particular needs of children at a time of rapid political and economic change in central and eastern Europe, in 1990 the UNICEF Executive Board approved a special three-year effort of "transitional support". In response to specific requests for cooperation, UNICEF was authorized "to provide technical support to rethink policies for child survival, development and protection in the context of the new situations" and to support "data collection on the situation of children and women, analytical studies, technical workshops, information materials and other related activities".