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Places and Spaces: Environments and children’s well-being
SPOTLIGHT

Places and Spaces: Environments and children’s well-being

Report Card 17 explores how 43 OECD/EU countries are faring in providing healthy environments for children. Do children have clean water to drink? Do they have good-quality air to breathe? Are their homes free of lead and mould? How many children live in overcrowded homes? How many have access to green play spaces, safe from road traffic? Data show that a nation’s wealth does not guarantee a healthy environment. Far too many children are deprived of a healthy home, irreversibly damaging their current and future well-being. Beyond children’s immediate environments, over-consumption in some of the world’s richest countries is destroying children’s environments globally. This threatens both children worldwide and future generations. To provide all children with safe and healthy environments, governments, policymakers, businesses and all stakeholders are called to act on a set of policy recommendations.
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Best of UNICEF Research 2021
Best of UNICEF Research 2021
Published: 2021 Miscellanea

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 health care? 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.

Non-State Education in South Asia: Understanding the effect of non-state actors on the quality, equity and safety of education service delivery
Non-State Education in South Asia: Understanding the effect of non-state actors on the quality, equity and safety of education service delivery

AUTHOR(S)
Artur Borkowski; Bindu Sunny; Juliana Zapata

Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report

Education systems in South Asia are complex and fragmented. Despite high engagement and involvement of Non-State Actors (NSA) in education, there is a lack of comprehensive policy to govern them. Achieving better learning outcomes for children in South Asia requires understanding the wide variety of NSA providers and unpacking how these different actors engage with and influence education provision. Through a meta-analysis of existing evidence, this report presents findings on learning outcomes in public and non-state schools and the implications on quality, equity and safety of education delivery in the region. It also uncovers critical gaps in evidence that need to be addressed to show what is really working, for whom, where and at what cost.


Economic Crisis and Child Well-being in the West and Central Africa Region
Economic Crisis and Child Well-being in the West and Central Africa Region
Published: 2021 Innocenti Research Report
The COVID-19 pandemic that swept over the world from early 2020 has triggered both health and economic shocks of unprecedented proportions in recent memory. Some estimates suggest that the consequences of these shocks will likely erase most of the progress made in global development over the past two decades. Many countries now risk falling further behind the attainment of national and international development goals, including the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of these shocks due to their persistent higher levels of vulnerability, and the reality that school closures and other COVID-19 containment measures can be more damaging to children. 

This report examines the effect of previous economic crises on children’s well-being in UNICEF’s West and Central Africa Region (WCAR) and makes projections regarding the potential impacts of COVID-19-induced economic crises on priority indicators for the region. 
Supporting Families and Children Beyond COVID-19: Social protection in high-income countries
Supporting Families and Children Beyond COVID-19: Social protection in high-income countries

AUTHOR(S)
Dominic Richardson; Alessandro Carraro; Victor Cebotari; Anna Gromada

Published: 2020 Innocenti Research Report
COVID-19 constitutes the greatest crisis that high-income countries have seen in many generations. While many high-income countries experienced the global financial crisis of 2007–2008, or have had national recessions, the COVID-19 pandemic is much more than that. COVID-19 is a social and economic crisis, sparked by a protracted health crisis.

High-income countries have very limited experience of dealing with health crises, having their health and human services stretched beyond capacity, restricting the travel of their populations or having to close workplaces and schools – let alone experience of all of these things combined. These unique conditions create new and serious challenges for the economies and societies of all high-income countries. As these challenges evolve, children – as dependants – are among those at greatest risk of seeing their living standards fall and their personal well-being decline.

This new UNICEF Innocenti report explores how the social and economic impact of the pandemic is likely to affect children; the initial government responses to the crisis; and how future public policies could be optimized to better support children. 
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

AUTHOR(S)
Katia Hujo; Maggie Carter

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.
Overview of Impact Evaluation: Methodological Briefs - Impact Evaluation No. 1
Overview of Impact Evaluation: Methodological Briefs - Impact Evaluation No. 1

AUTHOR(S)
Patricia Rogers

Published: 2014 Methodological Briefs
Impact evaluation provides information about the impacts produced by an intervention. It can be undertaken of a programme or a policy, or upstream work – such as capacity building, policy advocacy and support for an enabling environment. This goes beyond looking only at goals and objectives to also examine unintended impacts. This brief provides an overview of the different elements of impact evaluation and options for planning and managing its various stages.
Significant Changes to Family-related Benefits in Rich Countries during the Great Recession
Significant Changes to Family-related Benefits in Rich Countries during the Great Recession

AUTHOR(S)
Saara Hämäläinen; Yekaterina Chzhen; Jorge Vargas

Published: 2014 Innocenti Working Papers
To analyse the effect of the economic crisis and the ensuing fiscal stimulus and/or consolidation measures on children’s living conditions across the OECD and/or the EU, this paper investigates changes in disposable incomes of low-wage households with children since 2008, with a particular focus on family-related benefits. It uses the model family method coupled with tax-benefit simulation techniques for the period 2008-2012. The paper also summarises qualitatively significant changes to family-related benefits, some of which are too recent to have been included in the publicly available tax-benefit simulation models.
La defensa de los derechos del niño: Informe de síntesis de un estudio global sobre las instituciones independientes de derechos humanos en favor de los niños
La defensa de los derechos del niño: Informe de síntesis de un estudio global sobre las instituciones independientes de derechos humanos en favor de los niños

AUTHOR(S)
Vanessa Sedletzki

Published: 2013 Innocenti Publications
Las instituciones independientes aportan un enfoque claro hacia la infancia en unos sistemas de gobernanza que tradicionalmente se centran en los adultos. Suelen ofrecer mecanismos directos para mejorar la rendición de cuentas del Estado y otros garantes de la protección del menor, palian deficiencias en los mecanismos de control y equilibrio y trabajan para que se comprenda y se reconozca la relevancia de las políticas y prácticas en favor de los derechos de los niños. Cuando las cosas salen mal, o cuando los resultados son insuficientes, apoyan medidas para poner remedio a la situación y reformar el sistema.
Défendre les droits de l’enfant: Rapport de synthèse de l’étude mondiale sur les institutions indépendantes de défense des droits de l’enfant
Défendre les droits de l’enfant: Rapport de synthèse de l’étude mondiale sur les institutions indépendantes de défense des droits de l’enfant

AUTHOR(S)
Vanessa Sedletzki

Published: 2012 Innocenti Publications
Les institutions indépendantes placent explicitement les enfants au centre des systèmes de gouvernance traditionnellement axés sur les adultes. Fournissant souvent des mécanismes directs assurant une responsabilisation accrue de l’État et des autres protecteurs de l’enfance, elles comblent les lacunes entre les pouvoirs et les contrepouvoirs et veillent à ce que les répercussions des politiques et des pratiques sur les droits de l’enfant soient comprises et reconnues. Lorsque les choses vont mal ou que les résultats ne sont pas à la hauteur des attentes, elles soutiennent les voies de recours et les réformes qui s’imposent.
The Structural Determinants of Child Well-being: An expert consultation hosted by the UNICEF Office of Research 22-23 June 2012
The Structural Determinants of Child Well-being: An expert consultation hosted by the UNICEF Office of Research 22-23 June 2012
Published: 2012 Innocenti Publications
In response to persistent inequities, there is a global imperative to address the underlying causes of child wellbeing. While remarkable achievements have been made in the last decades in progress in health and survival of children, progress is still lagging in other key dimensions of child wellbeing, a number of which are now recognised as needing fresh attention in both rich and poor countries.
The Impact of Social Protection on Children: A review of the literature
The Impact of Social Protection on Children: A review of the literature

AUTHOR(S)
Marco Sanfilippo; Bruno Martorano; Chris De Neubourg

Published: 2012 Innocenti Working Papers
Social protection is particularly important for children, in view of their higher levels of vulnerability compared to adults, and the role that social protection can play in ensuring adequate nutrition, access to and utilization of social services. While existing evidence shows that social protection programmes successfully address several dimensions of child well-being -often in an indirect way - a move towards a more "child sensitive" approach to social protection has recently been advocated at the highest level in the international development community.
As crianças que ficam para trás: Uma tabela classificativa da desigualdade no bem-estar das crianças nos países ricos
As crianças que ficam para trás: Uma tabela classificativa da desigualdade no bem-estar das crianças nos países ricos

AUTHOR(S)
Peter Adamson

Published: 2010 Innocenti Report Card
O presente Report Card apresenta uma primeira visão global das desigualdades no bem-estar das crianças em 24 dos países mais ricos do mundo. São examinadas três dimensões da desigualdade: bem-estar material, educação e saúde. Em cada um dos casos e para cada país, a questão que se coloca é "até que ponto estão as crianças a ser deixadas para trás?" O presente relatório defende a ideia de que as crianças merecem ter o melhor começo possível, que as primeiras experiências podem lançar uma longa sombra sobre as suas vidas e que as crianças não podem ser responsabilizadas pelas circunstâncias em que nascem. Neste sentido, o parâmetro utilizado - o grau de desigualdade na base da pirâmide ao nível do bem-estar das crianças - mede os progressos que estão a ser feitos no sentido de uma sociedade mais justa. Reunindo dados relativos à maioria dos países da OCDE, o relatório tenta demonstrar quais destes países estão a deixar que as crianças fiquem para trás mais do que o necessário na educação, saúde e bem-estar material (utilizando os países com melhores desempenhos como padrão mínimo para o que pode ser alcançado). Chamando a atenção para a profundidade das disparidades reveladas, e resumindo o que se sabe sobre as suas consequências, defende-se que o "ficar para trás" é uma questão fundamental, não só para milhões de crianças na actualidade, mas também para o futuro económico e social dos seus países.
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Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children: Digital technology, play and child well-being
Publication

Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children: Digital technology, play and child well-being

Digital experiences can have significant negative impact on children, exposing them to risks or failing to nurture them adequately. Nevertheless, digital experiences also potentially yield enormous benefits for children, enabling them to learn, to create, to develop friendships, and to build worlds. While global efforts to deepen our understanding of the prevalence and impact of digital risks of harm are burgeoning – a development that is both welcome and necessary – less attention has been paid to understanding and optimizing the benefits that digital technology can provide in supporting children’s rights and their well-being. Benefits here refer not only to the absence of harm, but also to creating additional positive value. How should we recognize the opportunities and benefits of digital technology for children’s well-being? What is the relationship between the design of digital experiences – in particular, play-centred design – and the well-being of children? What guidance and measures can we use to strengthen the design of digital environments to promote positive outcomes for children? And how can we make sure that children’s insights and needs form the foundation of our work in this space? These questions matter for all those who design and promote digital experiences, to keep children safe and happy, and enable positive development and learning. These questions are particularly relevant as the world shifts its attention to emerging digital technologies and experiences, from artificial intelligence (AI) to the metaverse, and seeks to understand their impact on people and society. To begin to tackle these questions, UNICEF and the LEGO Group initiated the Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children (RITEC) project in partnership with the Young and Resilient Research Centre at Western Sydney University; the CREATE Lab at New York University; the Graduate Center, City University of New York; the University of Sheffield; the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child; and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center. The research is funded by the LEGO Foundation. The partnership is an international, multi-stakeholder and cross-sectoral collaboration between organizations that believe the design and development of digital technology should support the rights and well-being of children as a primary objective – and that children should have a prominent voice in making this a reality. This project’s primary objective is to develop, with children from around the world, a framework that maps how the design of children’s digital experiences affects their well-being, and to provide guidance as to how informed design choices can promote positive well-being outcomes.
Increasing Women’s Representation in School Leadership: A promising path towards improving learning
Publication

Increasing Women’s Representation in School Leadership: A promising path towards improving learning

Emerging evidence shows a positive association between women school leaders and student performance. Some studies suggest women school leaders are more likely than their male counterparts to adopt effective management practices that may contribute to improved outcomes. However, women remain largely underrepresented in school leadership positions, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. This brief presents emerging insights on the association between women school leaders and education outcomes and draws attention to women’s underrepresentation in school leadership roles. It highlights the need for further research on gender and school leadership to identify policies and practices that can be implemented to increase women’s representation and scale high-quality management practices adopted by women leaders to more schools to improve education outcomes for all children.
Annual Report 2021
Publication

Annual Report 2021

The UNICEF Innocenti Annual Report 2021 highlights the key results achieved in research and evidence to inform policymaking and programming.
Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from Remote Learning during COVID-19: Europe and Central Asia
Publication

Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from Remote Learning during COVID-19: Europe and Central Asia

When schools started closing their doors due to COVID-19, countries in Europe and Central Asia quickly provided alternative learning solutions for children to continue learning. More than 90 per cent of countries offered digital solutions to ensure that education activities could continue. However, lack of access to digital devices and a reliable internet connection excluded a significant amount of already marginalized children and threatened to widen the existing learning disparities. This report builds on existing evidence highlighting key lessons learned during the pandemic to promote learning for all during school closure and provides actionable policy recommendations on how to bridge the digital divide and build resilient education systems in Europe and Central Asia.

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