In this retrospective, we look back at finalist research from six years of the Best of UNICEF Research exercise to gain perspective on its uptake and pathways to longer-term impact. The numerous examples highlighted here, including six case studies, are drawn from the many interviews conducted in 2018 and 2019 with UNICEF staff, on 37 finalist projects, supplemented by survey responses collected from 410 UNICEF staff, in 2017.
Leading Minds Online, like many good things, was born out of necessity. After a successful inaugural Leading Minds Conference at UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti in Florence, Italy in November 2019, the office’s convening team began 2020 gearing up for the second annual conference.
The COVID pandemic that began in late 2019 put a stop to that. So we took our convening online, convinced that the philosophy that underpinned the Leading Minds convening in 2019 - to bring experts from all walks of life – young people, academics, practitioners, policymakers, businesses, the media, civil society and UNICEF’s own expert staff – around the current and next-generation challenges and opportunities for children could be just as relevant online as it is in person. Hence Leading Minds Online was born on 6 May 2020, with our first webcast series focused on experts' opinions on the implications of COVID-19 on children’s lives and futures. This yearbook summarizes their contributions to each of the webcasts and highlights the recommendations of each virtual event.
Evidence and objective assessment are needed more than ever to help enhance the rights and well-being of the world’s children. Researching the changing world around us and evaluating progress are two sides of the same coin, both critical to reimagining a better future for children. In recognition of this, UNICEF celebrates and showcases innovative and influential research and evaluations from our offices around the world every year. For 2020, Innocenti and the Evaluation Office joined forces to find the most rigorous UNICEF studies with greatest influence on policies and programmes that benefit children.
2019 was a year of celebration and achievement for UNICEF Innocenti. It marked the research Centre’s 30th anniversary, which coincided with the 30th year of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the global charter of children’s rights. And it was the 600th anniversary of our home, the Istituto degli Innocenti, perhaps the world’s oldest continuously operating institution dedicated to childcare. Throughout 2019, we celebrated several events with our Italian hosts – the Government of Italy, the Regione Toscana, the City of Florence and the Istituto degli Innocenti – to which we are all immensely grateful for their unstinting support over the past three decades. This Annual Report outlines some of our achievements in our key strategic workstreams of research generation, research facilitation, and convening and communication, during 2019.