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Best of UNICEF Research 2021
SPOTLIGHT

Best of UNICEF Research 2021

Best of UNICEF Research showcases the most rigorous, innovative and impactful research produced by UNICEF offices worldwide. While evidence highlights emerging issues, it also informs decisions and provides policy and programme recommendations for governments and partners to improve children’s lives. This ninth edition brings together 11 powerful studies from around the world and across the five Strategic Goal Areas. How do South Asian youth feel about entering the world of work? What is the effect of climate-related hazards on access to healthcare? How has COVID-19 affected children and their families in the Republic of Moldova? With social and economic inequalities increasing and progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals lagging, rigorous research – answers to these questions – has never mattered more.
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COVID-19: Missing More Than a Classroom. The impact of school closures on children’s nutrition
Blog Blog

COVID-19: Missing More Than a Classroom. The impact of school closures on children’s nutrition

In 2019, 135 million people in 55 countries were in food crises or worse, and 2 billion people did not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food. COVID-19 has exacerbated these hardships and may result in an additional 121 million people facing acute food insecurity by the end of 2020. Further, since the beginning of the pandemic, an estimated 1.6 billion learners in 199 countries worldwide were affected by school closures, with nearly 370 million children not receiving a school meal in 150 countries. The paper presents the evidence on the potential negative short-term and long-term effects of school meal scheme disruption during Covid-19 globally. It shows how vulnerable the children participating in these schemes are, how coping and mitigation measures are often only short-term solutions, and how prioritizing school re-opening is critical. For instance, it highlights how girls are at greater risk of not being in school or of being taken out of school early, which may lead to poor nutrition and health for themselves and their children. However, well-designed school feeding programmes have been shown to enable catch-up from early growth failure and other negative shocks. As such, once schools re-open, school meal schemes can help address the deprivation that children have experienced during the closures and provide an incentive for parents to send and keep their children, especially girls, in school.
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Evidence and Gap Map Research Brief: UNICEF STRATEGIC PLAN 2018–2021 GOAL AREA 1: EVERY CHILD SURVIVES AND THRIVES
Evidence and Gap Map Research Brief: UNICEF STRATEGIC PLAN 2018–2021 GOAL AREA 1: EVERY CHILD SURVIVES AND THRIVES
Published: 2019 Innocenti Research Briefs
This research brief is one of a series of five briefs, which provide an overview of available evidence shown in the Campbell-UNICEF Mega-Map of the effectiveness of interventions to improve child welfare in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). These briefs summarize evidence as mapped against the five goal areas of UNICEF’s 2018–2021 Strategic Plan, although it is anticipated that they will also be useful for others working in the child well-being space. This brief provides an overview of the available evidence related to child health and development.
Do constraints on women worsen child deprivations? Framework, measurement, and evidence from India
Do constraints on women worsen child deprivations? Framework, measurement, and evidence from India
Published: 2019 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper provides a framework for analyzing constraints that apply specifically to women, which theory suggests may have negative impacts on child outcomes (as well as on women). We classify women’s constraints into four dimensions: (i) low influence on household decisions, (ii) restrictions on mobility, (iii) domestic physical and psychological abuse, and (iv) limited information access. Each of these constraints are in principle determined within households. We test the impact of women’s constraints on child outcomes using nationally representative household Demographic and Health Survey data from India, including 53,030 mothers and 113,708 children, collected in 2015-16. We examine outcomes including nutrition, health, education, water quality, and sanitation. In our primary specification, outcomes are measured as multidimensional deprivations incorporating indicators for each of these deficiencies, utilizing a version of UNICEF’s Multidimensional Overlapping Deprivation Analysis index. We identify causal impacts using a Lewbel specification and present an array of additional econometric strategies and robustness checks. We find that children of women who are subjected to domestic abuse, have low influence in decision making, and limited freedom of mobility are consistently more likely to be deprived, measured both multidimensionally and with separate indicators.
Transformative Change for Children and Youth in the Context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
Transformative Change for Children and Youth in the Context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
Published: 2019 Innocenti Working Papers
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a new opportunity to address the key development challenges of our time with the aim to improve the well-being and rights of all people while protecting the natural environment. Children are important agents and beneficiaries in this process: many children are not only among the most vulnerable groups affected by poverty, inequality, conflict and climate change, they are also the generation that will reach adulthood during the realization of the 2030 Agenda. To create the sustainable, long-term transformation ambitiously laid out in Agenda
2030, new transformative approaches to policy must be implemented and applied to children and youth—approaches that target the underlying generative framework of social injustice as opposed to implementing affirmative remedies that simply seek to alleviate the symptoms. The objective of this paper is to develop a conceptual framework to help assess the transformative potential of policies – particularly with regard to their impact on children and youth – and how these are meaningfully integrated and represented in decision-making processes. It will shed light on the policy space for transformative change by analysing a range of relevant factors which present both challenges and opportunities for fostering child rights and well-being through the implementation of Agenda 2030. The paper then applies the framework to a selection of policy areas that are of high relevance for child development, such as social policy and care policy assessing necessary means of implementation such as resource mobilization and governance systems and looking at economic and environmental impacts in a cross-cutting way. The aim is to stretch boundaries and invite new thinking on how to grasp the numerous opportunities offered by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to approach development challenges holistically and from a child-centred perspective. This involves integrating economic, social and environmental dimensions of development and fostering cross-sectoral approaches.
Infanzia e ricerca agli Innocenti: 25 anni di impegno dell'UNICEF
Infanzia e ricerca agli Innocenti: 25 anni di impegno dell'UNICEF
Published: 2015 Innocenti Publications
Abbiamo accolto l’occasione del 25° anniversario per ascoltare le voci di coloro che hanno contribuito in vari modi alla vita del Centro di ricerca, non solo per farne un esercizio storico, ma per aiutarci a porre in contesto il nostro presente, per evitare di ripetere gli stessi errori e per contribuire a risolvere le problematiche ricorrenti. In questi brevi ma interessanti articoli il resoconto dell’impegno comune e delle divergenze d’opinione interne all’organizzazione si arricchisce dell’esperienza personale dei diversi autori e si avvale del senno di poi. Gli scritti offrono suggerimenti importanti e analisi utili per le nuove generazioni di ricercatori e amministratori.
Positive Indicators of Child Well-being: A conceptual framework, measures and methodological issues
Positive Indicators of Child Well-being: A conceptual framework, measures and methodological issues
Published: 2009 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper highlights a number of frameworks for positive indicator development which examine the positive well-being of children. Based upon this review, it suggests a new comprehensive framework which identifies constructs for positive well-being as well as potential indicators and extant measures that fit with those constructs. In addition, the paper reviews existing data sources for examples of positive measures that are found in the proposed framework as well as research studies that have been successful in measuring these indicators. The paper then notes the data and measurement gaps that exist in comprehensively measuring the positive in children and youth. Finally, it identifies a number of conceptual and methodological issues that need consideration as efforts to define and measure positive indicators of well-being and well-becoming go forward.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 100 | Thematic area: Child Poverty | Tags: child development, child well-being, indicators
Les capacités évolutives de l'enfant
Les capacités évolutives de l'enfant

AUTHOR(S)
Gerison Lansdown

Published: 2005 Innocenti Insights
Pour la première fois dans un traité internacional relatif aux droits humains, la Convention relative aux droits de l’enfant introduit le concept des ‘capacités évolutives’ de l’enfant. Ce principe revêt de profondes implications pour les droits humains de l’enfant. Il établit que l’acquisition de compétences majeures de la part des enfants s’accompagne d’une moindre nécessité de les diriger et d’une plus grande nécessité de leur confier la responsabilité des décisions qui concernent leur existence. La Convention reconnaît que les enfants acquièrent des compétences à des âges différents en fonction des environnements, des cultures et des expériences de vie, et que l’acquisition de ces compétences varie selon les circonstances. Elle tient également compte du fait que les capacités des enfants diffèrent selon la nature des droits à exercer.Cette étude a pour objectif d’ouvrir la discussion et de favoriser le débat afin de mieux discerner les moyens de promouvoir les changements culturels nécessaires pour que les enfants soient adéquatement protégés conformément à leurs capacités évolutives, et qu’ils soient respectés en tant que citoyens, en tant que personnes et en tant que titulaires de droits.
The Evolving Capacities of the Child
The Evolving Capacities of the Child

AUTHOR(S)
Gerison Lansdown

Published: 2005 Innocenti Insights
The Convention on the Rights of the Child introduces for the first time in an international human rights treaty, the concept of the ‘evolving capacities’ of the child. This principle has been described as a new principle of interpretation in international law, recognising that, as children acquire enhanced competencies, there is a diminishing need for protection and a greater capacity to take responsibility for decisions affecting their lives. The Convention allows for the recognition that children in different environments and cultures, and faced with diverse life experiences, will acquire competencies at different ages. Action is needed in law, policy and practice so that the contributions children make and the capacities they hold are acknowledged. The purpose of the study is to open the discussion and promote debate to achieve a better understanding of how children can be protected, in accordance with their evolving capacities, and also provided with opportunities to participate in the fulfillment of their rights.
Implementing the Convention on the Rights of the Child: Resource mobilization in low-income countries. Summary
Implementing the Convention on the Rights of the Child: Resource mobilization in low-income countries. Summary
Published: 1996 Innocenti Studies
This Innocenti Study focuses on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as it relates to children’s basic economic and social rights in developing countries in terms of the obligations placed by the Convention on both States and the international community. A key proposition is that working effectively for children’s rights involves many of the same strategies and implementation methods that have proved successful in numerous development efforts worldwide. The rights approach is inherently more concerned with issues of equity, non-discrimination and social justice, but it cannot afford to neglect the challenge of resource mobilization. And in this regard our conception of societal ‘resources’ must be extended beyond the limited finances of governments to encompass human, technological, cultural and organizational capabilities.
Implementing the Convention on the Rights of the Child: Resource mobilization in low-income countries

AUTHOR(S)
James R. Himes

Published: 1995 Innocenti Publications
This title focuses on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as it relates to children’s basic economic and social rights in developing countries in terms of the obligations placed by the Convention on both States and the international community. A key proposition is that working effectively for children’s rights involves many of the same strategies and implementation methods that have proved successful in numerous development efforts worldwide. The rights approach is inherently more concerned with issues of equity, non-discrimination and social justice, but it cannot afford to neglect the challenge of resource mobilization. And in this regard our conception of societal ‘resources’ must be extended beyond the limited finances of governments to encompass human, technological, cultural and organizational capabilities. (A summary of this book is also available as an Innocenti Study.)
The Decline of Infant Mortality in Europe, 1800-1950: Four national case studies
The Decline of Infant Mortality in Europe, 1800-1950: Four national case studies
Published: 1993 Historical Perspectives
The basic facts about the secular decline of infant mortality in Europe have been known for nearly a century. Regristration series show that the levels of infant mortality in the late nineteenth century were still extremely high and could vary quite markedly from one country to another, ranging from about 100 per 1,000 live births in Norway and Sweden to 200 or even 250 per 1,000 in countries such as Germany, Austria and Russia. At the turn of the century, however, infant mortality began to fall almost right across the continent. By the 1950s, when national rates of infant mortality ranged between 20 and 50 per 1,000, the process of convergence was nearly completed. The fall in infant mortality, which was paralelled by a simultaneous and equally pronounced decline in fertility, was responsible for raising life expectancy in many European countries by more than 10 years over a remarkably short period of time. The countries reviewed in this publication are Sweden, England, France and Austria.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 86 | Thematic area: Early Childhood | Tags: child development, health policy, historical analysis, infant mortality, social policy | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
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Learning at a Distance: Children’s remote learning experiences in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic
Publication Publication

Learning at a Distance: Children’s remote learning experiences in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic

Italy was the first country in Europe to implement a nationwide lockdown. Children and their families lived in nearly complete isolation for almost two months. Students missed 65 days of school compared to an average of 27 missed days among high-income countries worldwide. This prolonged break is of concern, as even short breaks in schooling can cause significant loss of learning for children and lead to educational inequalities over time. At least 3 million Italian students may not have been reached by remote learning due to a lack of internet connectivity or devices at home. This report explores children’s and parents’ experiences of remote learning during the lockdown in Italy, drawing on data collected from 11 European countries (and coordinated by the European Commission’s Joint Research Center). It explores how children's access and use of digital technologies changed during the pandemic; highlights how existing inequalities might undermine remote learning opportunities, even among those with internet access; and provides insights on how to support children’s remote learning in the future. *** L'Italia e’ stata il primo paese in Europa ad aver applicato la misura del lockdown su tutto il territorio. I bambini e le loro famiglie hanno vissuto in quasi completo isolamento per circa due mesi. Gli studenti hanno perduto 65 giorni di scuola rispetto ad una media di 27 negli altri paesi ad alto reddito del mondo. Questa interruzione prolungata rappresenta motivo di preoccupazione, in quanto persino interruzioni piu’ brevi nella didattica possono causare significative perdite nel livello di istruzione dei ragazzi e portare col tempo a diseguaglianze educative. Almeno 3 milioni di studenti in Italia non sono stati coinvolti nella didattica a distanza a causa d una mancanza di connessione ad internet o di dispositivi adeguati a casa. Questo rapporto analizza l’esperienza della didattica a distanza di ragazzi e genitori in Italia durante il lockdown, sulla base dei dati raccolti in 11 paesi europei (e coordinati dal Centro comune di ricerca della Commissione Europea). Studia il cambiamento nell’accesso e nell’uso delle tecnologie digitali dei bambini e ragazzi durante la pandemia; mette in evidenza come le diseguaglianze esistenti possano diminuire le opportunità offerte dalla didattica a distanza, anche tra coloro che hanno accesso ad internet; e fornisce approfondimenti su come sostenere la didattica a distanza di bambini e ragazzi in futuro.
Vite a Colori: Esperienze, percezioni e opinioni di bambinə e ragazzə sulla pandemia di Covid-19 in Italia
Publication Publication

Vite a Colori: Esperienze, percezioni e opinioni di bambinə e ragazzə sulla pandemia di Covid-19 in Italia

Il rapporto Vite a Colori racconta le esperienze, percezioni ed opinioni di un gruppo di adolescenti sul primo anno di pandemia di Covid-19 in Italia cercando di comprendere le loro esperienze e punti di vista, attraverso le loro parole. La raccolta dati si è svolta tra febbraio e giugno 2021 con 114 partecipanti tra i 10 e i 19 anni, frequentanti le scuole superiori del primo e del secondo ciclo di 16 regioni italiane. Bambinɘ e ragazzɘ che si identificano come LGBTQI+, minori stranieri non accompagnati (MSNA) e adolescenti con background socioeconomico svantaggiato sono stati deliberatamente inclusi nel campione interessato dalla ricerca

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