Today, 23 November 2022, marks the 15th anniversary of the Convention of 23 November 2007 on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance (HCCH 2007 Child Support Convention) and the Protocol of 23 November 2007 on the Law Applicable to Maintenance Obligations (HCCH 2007 Maintenance Obligations Protocol), following their adoption at the Twenty-First Session of the HCCH.
The Convention and Protocol, which are currently in force in 45 and 31 States respectively, and in the European Union, have been swiftly implemented in different parts of the world, and are facilitating the effective cross-border recovery of child support payments for the benefit of countless children. The prospects for further implementation of the Convention and Protocol to tackle global child support debt, amounting to billions of dollars annually, are promising. Interest in both instruments, and in additional tools developed to facilitate their implementation, continues to grow. For instance, 15 States and the EU are currently involved in the development of iSupport, the electronic case management and secure communication system designed to facilitate the practical operation of the Convention, and over 10 States have either implemented it or are in the process of doing so.
By some estimates, there are more than one million cases of unrecovered cross-border child support payments globally. The drafters of the Convention, aware of the magnitude of this problem, adopted a modern and effective instrument that has made significant progress towards addressing this challenge in the first fifteen years of its existence. The potential of the Convention and the Protocol was highlighted by William Duncan, then Deputy Secretary-General, who said on 23 November 2007, “Today the world has grown smaller for child support debtors”.
More information on the HCCH 2007 Child Support Convention and the HCCH 2007 Maintenance Obligations Protocol, including the Conclusions and Recommendations of the First Meeting of the Special Commission on both instruments, held in The Hague from 17 to 19 May 2022, is available on the Child Support Section of the HCCH website.