Child Rights Governance Investment in children Investment in everyone

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1 Child Rights Governance Investment in children Investment in everyone Seven examples of how Investment in Children efforts positively impact government resource mobilisation, allocations and spending on children and instigate open, inclusive and accountable governance

2 Preface This year we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Unfortunately many governments fail to prioritise children when deciding how to spend their available resources. Save the Children knows from our long history of working with child rights and from global research that without the necessary resources to back these commitments, and good governance to ensure money is well allocated and spent, children s rights will continue to be violated. As a global community we have agreed that children have rights and that costs money. Save the Children believes that adequate resources can best be mobilized, allocated and spent to the benefit of children when the public has an opportunity to hold those in power to account. For that to happen it is essential that governments provide citizens, including children, with the necessary information to be able to effectively engage. We work at every level of decision making from the lowest governance level in country to regional and global level advocacy. With this publication we wish to share results from the work Save the Children and partners do to make children, especially the poorest, benefit from greater public investment and better use of society s resources in realizing their rights. Lene Steffen Director, Child Rights Governance Global Initiative, Save the Children Globally we are working with children and their communities in budget monitoring, tracking and influencing as well as on social accountability initiatives and tax justice initiatives. 2

3 Introduction Governments must take all measures to fulfil children s rights States Parties shall undertake all appropriate legislative, administrative, and other measures for the implementation of the rights recognized in the present Convention. With regard to economic, social and cultural rights, States Parties shall undertake such measures to the maximum extent of their available resources and, where needed, within the framework of international cooperation. - Article 4, UN Convention on the Rights of the Child Because of largely inadequate and ineffectual public investment in children, 22,000 children below the age of five die of preventable diseases, hunger and malnutrition every day. One billion children are deprived of one or more essential services for their survival and development. The situation of the world s children demands that governments prioritise investment in children. The objective of Save the Children s Investment in Children efforts is to ensure that governments realise children s rights through better use of society s resources. It s mainly through government budgets that equitable and sustainable investments in children can be achieved. For this to happen, governments need to maximise domestic resource mobilisation and subsequently ensure that children are prioritised in resource allocation and utilisation, says Bob Libert Muchabaiwa, Investment in Children Manager, Save the Children s Child Rights Governance Global Initiative. Investment in Children efforts revolve around: The extent to which governments optimise resource mobilisation to invest in all children for the full realisation of their rights; Whether the available resources are allocated to the maximum extent possible to benefit all children, particularly the 3

4 poorest and the most vulnerable; and Whether the available resources are well spent within a framework of open, inclusive and accountable governance to bring about positive outcomes for all children. This publication, which contains subject-based cases from different parts of the world, provides a concise overview of the aims, approaches and results of Save the Children s Investment in Children efforts. The work involving Investment in Children revolves around the ability to understand, analyse, question and carry out advocacy to compel governments to enact change as opposed to around, for example the construction of schools or delivery of equipment for clinics. Investment in Children efforts are needed because governments do not always automatically act in child-friendly ways. Governments may complain about a lack of resources, or they may have established child-friendly laws and policies, but then proceed to evade practicing child-friendliness in real life. Ultimately, it is all about political will and about choosing and planning to invest in children. A legal responsibility for all State Parties to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, investment in children is not only beneficial for children; it yields positive financial returns and builds social and political resilience for every one of a country s citizens. Investment in children is investment in everyone A child s early years are critically important, for they provide the foundation for the rest of life, as an adolescent and as an adult. Children who are well nurtured can live well and create better societies for all. Yes, children are our future and by investing in them at their earliest ages we invest in everyone s human and economic development. - From Early Child Development to Human Development: Investing in Our Children s Future. The World Bank,

5 Why tax matters for children Problem: Many developing countries do not collect as much in taxes as they could. Often, they lack efficient taxation systems, and tax evasion and tax avoidance also play a major role. Developing countries are assumed to lose more income due to international tax havens, illegal capital flight and lack of transparency in the international economy than what they receive in foreign aid. International companies, governments and individuals who avoid paying taxes or hide enormous amounts belonging to the state and its citizens affect state revenues, which in turn affects the states ability to fulfil children s rights. Domestic revenue mobilised through taxation is considered a more sustainable source for financing social services than aid, as taxation is more predictable and allows for a long-term, sustainable strengthening of systems. Aim: To increase government resources for investment in children by advocating against tax havens, tax evasion and tax avoidance. Approaches: Save the Children has conducted several studies to document the connection between taxes and child rights. The studies lay the foundation for advocacy, which takes place in cooperation with, for instance, the Tax Justice Network Africa. Save the Children is advocating for: An international convention for transparency in the international economy; a commonly agreed upon definition of tax havens ; and the development of an index on straw men and unrevealed owners; 5

6 Country-by-country reporting requiring multinational companies to break down their income and taxes in detail, and subsequent tax allocation to the countries in which the company is based; The International Monetary Fund to encourage low-income countries to spend money on eradicating poverty. Ahead of and during the G8 summit in 2013, Save the Children was part of a coalition convening meetings with highlevel leaders and engaging the media. Tax evasion and tax avoidance were included in the Enough Food for Everyone campaign in the United Kingdom. Tens of thousands of people ed their members of parliament, signed petitions, dressed up as Chancellor of the Exchequer, showing up by the thousands at a Big IF London rally in Hyde Park. Save the Children also wrote to the Chancellor asking him to host a tax haven summit with the Prime Minister that would focus on the UK s responsibility for good governance. Results: The Prime Minister invited senior ministers from British tax havens for high-level talks, and a set of core principles on the exchange of information on tax-related issues was signed. The G8 Lough Erne Declaration underlines that developing countries should have the information necessary to collect their rightful taxes, and other countries have a duty to help them. It is a contradiction to support increased development assistance, yet turn a blind eye to actions by multinationals and others that undermine the tax base of a developing country. -Trevor Emanuel, South African Finance Minister. - From the concept note The work of Save the Children on tax havens, capital flight and children s rights. 6

7 Holding governments to account via budget analysis and monitoring Problem: While policies and legal frameworks to realise children s rights are generally in place in many countries, budget allocation to implement the policies is often inadequate. Spending is often ineffective and does not reach the most excluded children. Aim: Save the Children and partner organisations in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan want to influence budgetary allocations and public spending in favour of children through budget analysis, monitoring and advocacy. Approaches: Independent budget analysis and advocacy Consultation and engagement in budget cycle: pre-budgetary discussions, enactment of budget, implementation and auditing Child-led research, budget monitoring and budget advocacy Child-friendly campaigns and awareness raising on budgeting literacy Capacity building of state and non-governmental actors in child-friendly budgeting 7

8 Results: In Zimbabwe, new budget lines for child participation have been secured in some locations at local level. Thanks to demystification of the budget process, civil society organisations and children are now being consulted, which consequently enables them to influence budgeting. In Zambia, advocacy has contributed to increases in the national budgets for health, education and social security for the benefit of all Zambian children. Orphaned and vulnerable children especially stand to gain from expenditure tracking, because it pushes the government to improve its monitoring mechanisms for the bursaries system to ensure that more children benefit from the scheme. In Tanzania, six out of the seven district councils increased their resource allocation for activities related directly to children in In the Arusha and Same districts, 455,000 pupils benefitted from school feeding programmes, subsequently increasing school attendance from 70 per cent in 2011 to 84 per cent in 2012 in the Same district. Fifteen hostels have also been constructed, which means more children can receive secondary education, even if there is no school nearby. In Ruangwa, thousands of children are provided with improved education thanks to the recruitment of 52 extra teachers. A budget analysis in Pakistan suggests that there is an increase in child-specific activities in the provinces after pressure from Save the Children and other organisations. In Kenya, schoolchildren are engaged in monitoring disbursements from the Ministry of Education, thus enhancing its accountability. Children s rights cannot be fulfilled without budget analysis No state can tell whether it is fulfilling children s economic, social and cultural rights to the maximum extent of available resources, as Article 4 requires, unless it can identify the proportion of national and other budgets allocated to the social sector and, within that, to children, both directly and indirectly. - Resourcing Child Rights: Child Centric Budget Analysis. Sri Lanka, EU, Save the Children, CRAN and Chathuri Jayasooriyya 8

9 9 Photo: Anne-Sofie Helms/Red Barnet

10 Working with parliamentarians to ensure children are prioritised in budgets Problem: Despite commitments in the interim constitution and existing legislation to guarantee children access to healthcare and education, government funding for these sectors remains woefully inadequate in South Sudan. An estimated three million children have no access to healthcare, and less than half of all children enrol in school. In Bangladesh, the quality and coverage of basic development and social services remain highly unsatisfactory after years of inadequate allocation of resources and investment. Aim: To have a group of parliamentarians across political parties who put children on the political agenda and ensure that resources are prioritised for children in the budgetary process. Approaches: In 2011, the South Sudan Parliamentary Lobby Group for Children was formed at the National Legislative Assembly. 10

11 Comprised of members of parliament, the group is a voice for children in the policy arena. The parliamentarians have participated in several training programmes to build their capacities on child rights, advocacy and investment in children. Save the Children has also engaged civil society organisations, think tanks and line ministries in advocacy and national children s conferences, where children, lawmakers and ministers discuss challenges and agree on possible actions. In Bangladesh, Save the Children and its partner organisation Centre for Services and Information on Disability supported the formation of a Parliamentary Caucus on Child Rights. To ensure that child-centred budgeting becomes a goal for all political parties in Bangladesh, rather than a partisan project for one or two parties, the caucus was formally launched at the end of 2012 and has approved rules of procedure in line with those of parliament. All members of the Bangladesh Parliament approved the caucus unanimously. Results: In South Sudan the health, education social welfare and child protection budgets have increased since the formation of the Parliamentary Lobby Group for Children. This is assumed to be partly due to the influence of the parliamentarians trained by Save the Children. 11

12 The parliamentarians who have promised to advocate from 2013 for further increases in the budget for children to the Parliamentary Lobby Group have also planned to conduct a parliamentary briefing with children to give them feedback on the budget. In Bangladesh, the applied procedures guarantee that the child-centred budget is deeply rooted and institutionalised in the structures and mechanisms of the country it becomes systemic change. The parliamentarians promote child-centred budgets inside the Bangladesh Parliament and outside in their respective political forums. discussions in parliamentary sessions, coordinate parliamentary questions on issues and policies related to child-centred budgeting, and facilitate discussions with ministries, Parliamentary Standing Committees, civil society and research organisations. The caucus also arranged a pre-budget press conference and discussed the importance of children s budgets in the 2013 parliamentary budget session. As a result, the Finance Minister has committed to including a children s budget into the national budget from The caucus members provide policy briefs to ensure quality This workshop has come at the right time given that the budget for the next fiscal year has not yet been passed. It will give parliamentarians the opportunity to analyse the money allocated to all sectors and to assess whether it is child friendly and to make changes as necessary. - Director for Child Welfare, National Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare, Celina Peter. Adapted from Save the Children press release in South Sudan 16 August 2013 on training for parliamentarians 12

13 Why budget transparency and participation are important factors in child nutrition Problem: Making commitments to children on paper is easy. Turning commitments into effective programmes and services that bring about desired results is more complex and requires fiscal resources. Africa has the highest rate of children dying before the age of five. Child nutrition is a critical issue playing a pivotal role in children s well-being and survival. At the same time, governments have publicly committed themselves to reducing child mortality. Aim: To develop a methodology for assessing budget transparency in child sectors, so that civil society will be able to analyse whether allocations are adequate and effectively spent. The evidence will be used for advocating for more or better spending for child rights, and in this case on child nutrition. Approaches: To investigate the degree of budget transparency and civil 13

14 society participation in budgetary processes in Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe, Accountability & Transparency for Human Rights (AT4HR), International Budget Partnership (IBP) and Save the Children developed a guide called A guide to conducting a survey on budget transparency and human rights. Researchers and health experts in each country also carried out research in the five countries. In each country, they selected five child nutrition interventions and used the guide to look into following five areas: A) Policy and strategic coordination in child nutrition interventions; B) Planned and budgeted expenditures for child nutrition interventions; C) Actual expenditures; D) Budget performance; and E) Public participation in budgeting decisions involving child nutrition. At sub-national levels, the researchers selected three geographical areas with different socio-economic profiles and settlement patterns. Photo: Helle Kjærsgaard/Red Barnet Main findings: The level of budget transparency in relation to child nutrition was found to be inadequate across the five countries. On average, less than half of the information that should ideally be publically available could be found at the national level and even less at sub-national levels. The transparency was better when it came to information about policy and planning than about implementation, meaning that citizens are more likely to 14

15 know what their governments are intending to do than what is put into practice. Public participation in government child nutrition decisions received the lowest score of all categories. Results: The findings may help the governments to establish good practices in budgeting for child nutrition as they point out specific challenges and weaknesses that governments need to address to improve the transparency. At the time of writing, the research was only five months old. In its new Planning and Budgeting Policy, however, the government of Zambia mirrors some of the concerns raised by the research, including how to make information on revenue, financing and expenditure publicly available and how to design processes to make the national budget transparent, decentralised and participatory. Poor access to information undermines public participation Child rights advocates and researchers have, for many years now, been monitoring what national governments are doing to improve the livelihoods of children. One central hurdle that invariably obstructs their efforts is inadequate budget information. Poor access to useful information undermines public participation in government decision making about child nutrition, including the participation of children themselves. - Adapted from Budget Transparency and Child Nutrition. AT4HR, IBP and Save the Children, April

16 Children influence municipal investment in Latin America Problem: Most services for children are delivered at local government level. Unfortunately, public spending on children at this level traditionally has been minimal and ineffective in many Latin American countries. Aim: To promote development of municipal policies for children and ensure budgets are allocated for their implementation. Approaches: Save the Children works with children, civil society organisations and municipalities to build their capacity to develop policies for children in a participatory way and to ensure budgets to implement the policies. Children take part in analysing the situation of children in the municipality and suggest what needs to be improved. They also monitor the implementation of municipal programmes. Children have been involved, for example, in designing, signing 16

17 and launching an Early Childhood Pact. The children engage in debate with mayors and consult with various municipal representatives. They also conduct press conferences and public hearings, participate in training workshops and map actors that influence municipal budgets. They identify services that children cannot access and carry out advocacy across Latin and South America. Many activities stem from the action-reflection group The Central American Learning Circle on Children s Rights and Local Development. Save the Children and its partner organisations in Central and South America have broadened and deepened their experiences on investment in children, while others have just begun Investment in Children efforts. The exchange between countries that, for instance, the learning circle method provides can generate excellent results. Direct capacity building of municipalities to enhance their capacity as duty bearers is combined with the formation of child clubs, municipal monitoring and evaluation commissions, committees, councils, and other organisations and networks for and by children and adolescents. Results: In Brazil, for example, 1,566 or 30 percent of the country s mayors participated in the Child-friendly Programme , benefiting more than 10 million children and adolescents. This has led to the opening of 1,607 new kindergartens for 320,000 kids. Colombia has developed a new Education Plan that brings a greater amount of government resources into the education sector, and municipal investment in children has become a mandatory public policy. Youths from the municipality of Quimbaya participated in the planning of the municipal budget, securing funding for the creation of youth clubs and arts groups. In Guatemala, the municipality of San Juan Ermita is financing and implementing a Childhood Public Policy. The policy is completing its third period, each of which lasts four years. Millions of US dollars have been committed to public investment in education, water and sanitation, health, protection, adequate nutrition, recreation and participation. Municipal governments in Yamaranguila, Honduras, have increased their investment in children from 14 percent between 2006 and 2009 to 23 percent between 2010 and Five percent of the municipal budget has been allocated for the children s own Children s Municipal Corporation and the implementation of the corporation s action plan. The actions include a process leading to democratic elections in the corporation and the development of children s councils, which are to identify problems that affect children, prioritise these and 17

18 define alternative solutions. The corporation also participates in the policy decision-making process, including formation, implementation and accountability, and the social audit of the municipal budget. In Nicaragua, the Network of Municipal Governments Friends of Children has become a national benchmark in municipal investment in children and adolescents. Out of the 153 existing municipalities, 124 or 81 percent are part of the network. Over eight years, the average municipal investment in children has increased by 92 percent in these 124 municipalities. Systematic monitoring of municipal investment in children in Nicaragua shows that from 2009 to 2011, 18.3 percent of all funds were devoted directly to children. This figure represents an increase of 2.8 percentage points compared to , where the figure was 15.5 percent. In Peru, regional governments approved an ordinance in July 2012 that declares, the need for and regional prioritising of comprehensive care in early childhood and for expecting mothers as a basis for the regional development of the city of Cusco. A comprehensive care model developed by the project extends regionally, and the budget allocated to early childhood has increased by 10 percent. More than 100,000 US dollars have been invested in a psychosocial pedagogical care centre. Learning about economics is something that seems difficult, but after we participated in the workshops, we learned that it is more about the willingness to be interested in youth s rights and lobbying the government so that they take us into account. Jeison López, 16, Colombia. From the report Child Rights Governance: Experiences from Investment in Children in Latin America and the Caribbean supported by Save the Children 18

19 Using the Universal Periodic Review to influence governments investment in children Opportunity: The Universal Periodic Review involves a review of the human rights records of all UN Member States. The Universal Periodic Review under the auspices of the Human Rights Council provides the opportunity for each state to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situation in their countries and to fulfil their human rights obligations. Reviews take place through an interactive discussion between the state under review and other UN Member States. This occurs during a meeting of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group. Any UN Member State can pose questions and make comments and recommendations to the States under review. Civil society organisations can also submit information to inform the review and ensure that the voices and priority concerns identified by relevant stakeholders in each country are reflected in the recommendations. Photo: Louise Dyring Mbae/Red Barnet Aim: To use the Universal Periodic Review as a tool to hold governments accountable for their commitment to investment in 19

20 children in keeping with Article 4 in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Approaches: Save the Children supported 31 civil society submissions during the first cycle of the Universal Periodic Review from 2008 to 2001 and 14 in 2012, which is the first year of the second cycle. Some of the approaches used in the Republic of Korea, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Mali, Zambia and Peru include: Capacity building of civil society organisations on how to use the Universal Periodic Review to hold governments to account on their commitments to investment in children. Engagement with national human rights civil society coalitions and other alliances and networks ensures that children s perspectives are mainstreamed throughout the broader human rights discussion. Involvement of children is ensured through development of child-friendly Universal Periodic Review materials and childinformed Universal Periodic Review submissions. Health workers, teachers and parents are also invited to express their views. Advocacy at national, capital and UN levels includes joint childcentred Universal Periodic Review submissions and advocacy briefs produced by coalitions and networks. These papers are used towards missions in Geneva and embassies to ensure that child rights concerns are raised in the Universal Periodic Review Working Group and result in recommendations accepted by the State. Briefings with embassies, donor agencies and international agencies also influence the statements and recommendations from peer states. To generate attention, media campaigns often link the Universal Periodic Review process to specific events such as the UN Universal Children s Day. To influence the follow-up on the recommendations, childfriendly versions of Universal Periodic Review reports and the outcome of the process are disseminated to courts, members of local governments and secretaries, governors, the head of state and child rights organisations. Results: During the Universal Periodic Review Working Group session, the government of the Republic of Korea committed to prioritising resource allocations for children. The process also led to the formation of an inter-embassy meeting group on child rights. The cooperation with embassies has secured new funding for civil society organisation partners. During the Universal Periodic Review of Zambia, the government accepted recommendations on budget allocations for maternal and child health and investment in education in rural 20

21 areas. Recommendations on the health budget have helped reinforce national advocacy efforts, leading to an increase in the national health budget from 9.3 percent in 2012 to 11.3 percent in In Bangladesh, the Universal Periodic Review has acted as a catalyst to boost national advocacy concerning the Child Rights Act enacted by Parliament on 16 June 2013, two months after the Universal Periodic Review Working Group on Bangladesh. Combined advocacy efforts on a child-friendly budget have pushed the finance minister to promise to introduce a childfriendly budget in the fiscal year. In Nepal, coordinated follow-up efforts led to partial implementation of the long-awaited Child Rights Act, Education Regulation, Child Protection Policy and mini mum standards for child care homes. Universal Periodic Review advocacy on Pakistan was instrumental in speeding up key legal and policy reforms that have been pending for years. In November 2012, one month after the Universal Periodic Review session, the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2012 was passed by the National Assembly, guaranteeing free education to all children aged five to sixteen years. The government declared 2013 the year of child rights, thus providing further scope for civil society to push the government to fulfil its commitments towards children. 21

22 Dear Madam, [Name of your organization] is writing to you on behalf of the Child Rights Movement (CRM) Pakistan a coalition of more than 100 non-governmental organizations in Pakistan. The CRM is working to achieve realisation of children s rights in Pakistan through the incorporation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) into Pakistani laws and implementation of those. The CRM notes with satisfaction the focus given to children s rights in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Pakistan which took place on 30th October 2012 in Geneva. [ ] We also encourage the Government of Pakistan to undertake a large consultation process to seek the views of civil society stakeholders in preparation for the national report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, due on 11th December The CRM is keen to work with and support the Government of Pakistan as it considers the above UPR recommendations, and would welcome the chance to meet and discuss this important issue. I look forward to hearing from you. Yours sincerely, [Designation]. Copy: Advisor to the Prime Minister of Pakistan - Excerpts from letter to the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, Child Rights Movement Pakistan,

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