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Resources and policies for children

To complement ongoing research on child poverty and analysis on the implementation of the CRC, and as contribution to UNICEF wide attention to ‘social protection’, the IRC research gives a particular attention to article 4 of the CRC on the allocation of resources to the maximum extent possible.
Article 4 calls for child centred macro-economic and social policies. It addresses the question of budgetary allocation for the realization of economic, social and cultural rights, including with a view to ensuring that each child has access to basic social services of quality to provide for the child’s adequate standard of living, development to the fullest potential, and protection from neglect, exploitation, abuse and discrimination.

The Committee on the Rights of the Child will host a day of discussion on 21 September 2007 on article 4, to which the Centre will contribute. One of the areas being considered concerns analysis of ODA to support the realizations of children’s rights.
In their implementation efforts and reporting to the Committee on the Rights of the Child States Parties are expected to address the role of international cooperation in promoting the realization of children’s rights. Donor countries are required to provide information on their aid in direct support of policies and programmes for children. From the Committee’s work, it is difficult to identify a systematic approach for monitoring donor country efforts in terms of estimated spending and shares in total ODA. For international comparison, transparency and accountability it may be desirable to have an internationally agreed approach to report on and assess such flows.

Within the context of the study on General Measures of Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, IRC and the OECD are working on the development of a systematic approach to review ODA for children using the internationally comparable statistics of the OECD DAC Creditor Reporting System (CRS). The study will use as a basis for exploration systems developed by Sweden and Norway for tracking their aid in support of children, including an investigation into the channels of delivery and the importance of ‘new aid modalities’.

Further detailed analysis of how Sweden and Norway report on aid in support of the CRC priorities within the CRS system will be pursued following further discussion with the countries.
This research and working papers associated with the Innocenti Report Card 6 on child poverty in rich countries (2005) have contributed to UNICEF wide efforts to consider how to address needs of children within social protection mechanisms in countries at different levels of development. Potential area of research

As part of extending research into middle income countries and in support of the UNICEF Social Protection agenda, IRC is giving consideration to mapping systems of financial benefits to families with young children in a representative sample of middle and higher income countries to compare systems in terms of their ability to mitigate poverty among relevant households, as well as their cost effectiveness. It will consider the balancing of universal systems that target families with special needs (poverty, children with disabilities). Budgets and fiscal decentralization

Looking at a selected group of countries, e.g., 4-6, through case studies, the analysis would consider (i) what/whether minimum standards of (a given set of) services for children have been set, (ii) what guidance exists to cost the provision of these services to qualifying children at all localities within a country, and (iii) in turn budget for it, at the central and local levels. Special consideration will be given to how funds from Central government are allocated to local governments for these services, whether different revenue generation possibilities among sub-regions are considered, how such disadvantages are overcome (revenue equalization etc.), and what barriers exist for local level governments to access dedicated funds.

This research would draw on and could eventually contribute to WB supported Medium Term Expenditure Frameworks - and the budgeting and allocation of adequate resources for services for children within the context of PRSPs.

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