The Hague Conference on Private International Law has been a pioneer in developing systems of international co-operation, at the administrative and judicial levels, for the protection of children who are caught up in cross-frontier situations in which the person or property of the child may be at risk. The principal method used to achieve this goal is the negotiation and drafting of multilateral treaties which are called Hague Conventions. Three Conventions have been adopted by the Hague Conference specifically addressing international child abduction, intercountry adoption, and parental responsibility and measures for the protection of children: the Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, the Hague Convention of 29 May 1993 on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption and the Hague Convention of 19 October 1996 on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children, which has entered into force on 1 January 2002.

Traditionally, the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference develops and monitors Hague Conventions, assists effective communications between countries, organises Special Commissions to review the practical operation of the Conventions, and promotes knowledge of, and good practices under, the Conventions. However, much more needs to be done, especially in respect of those States which require support to enable them to meet their obligations of child protection under the Conventions.

To ameliorate this situation, the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference has recently launched The Hague Project for International Co-operation and the Protection of Children. The goal of this Project is to make information about the operation of the Conventions more easily accessible. This will be accomplished through the following activities:

  • The establishment of a bilingual database (English and French) of international judicial decisions taken under the Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (INCADAT). This database can be consulted at;
  • The development of training programmes for the personnel of Central and other authorities appointed to carry out responsibilities under the Conventions;
  • The convening of meetings and programmes of judicial training, for the purpose of familiarising judges with the operation of the Conventions;
  • The promotion of research into the basic operation of the Conventions, with initial emphasis on the establishment of a sound statistical basis;
  • The conducting of local and regional meetings to promote knowledge and understanding of the Hague Conventions;
  • The investigation into new or improved co-operative structures that may enhance the international protection of children, such as mediation, international placement of children outside adoption and parent/child contact.

The normal budget which is provided by the Member States of the Conference does not make provision for developmental activities of this kind. The Permanent Bureau is therefore seeking supplementary funding for certain key projects which go beyond, but are closely related to, its usual activities in the field of international child protection. This Project is being created to promote better mutual understanding and communication among the judiciary of different countries, and to add to international co-operation as it takes on an increasingly global character.

To achieve maximum accessibility, INCADAT is being made available free of charge. Funding is through voluntary contributions. Generous initial support has been received from various sponsors. Additional support is needed to enable us to complete, maintain and update INCADAT. Your voluntary contribution (by way of transfer to ABN-AMRO, swift code ABN ANL2A, bank account number in the name of "Conférence de La Haye de droit international privé (INCADAT)") will enable us to do this. We thank you in advance for your expression of support.