UN Committee on the Rights of the Child adopts a General Comment on ‘Public budgeting for the realisation of children's rights'

Date: 4th October 2016
Category: Other human rights treaties and mechanisms

Children's organisations have welcomed the Committee's recognition that states need to invest in children to realise their rights as outlined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols.

About the Working Group on Investment in Children

The Working Group on Investment in Children promotes public investment in the realisation of children's rights through UN human rights treaty bodies and mechanisms, including the Human Rights Council (HRC) and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, as well as other key institutions.

The Working Group consists of the following members:

African Child Policy Forum, Eurochild, Child Rights Coalition Asia, DCI Costa Rica, IBFAN-GIFA, Redlamyc, Plan International, Save the Children and Terre des Hommes. UNICEF has observer status.

UNCRC General Comment No. 19 on Public Budgeting for the Realisation of Children's Rights

In June 2016, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child adopted General Comment No.19 (2016) on Public Budgeting for the Realisation of Children's Rights (art. 4).

In a statement, the Working Group has welcomed the adoption of the General Comment as a crucial document to assist States to accelerate implementation of all children's rights as stipulated in the UNCRC and its Optional Protocols.

General Comment on public budgeting for the realisation of children's rights, paragraph 12:
'The Committee reiterates that prioritising children's rights in budgets, at both national and subnational levels, as required by the Convention, contributes not only to realising those rights, but also to long-lasting positive impacts on future economic growth, sustainable and inclusive development, and social cohesion.'

The realisation of children's rights entails costs. Unless States ensure sufficient resource mobilisation, equitable budget allocation and effective spending, child rights related laws and policies will remain empty promises. Resources are required for all children to access education and learn, access quality universal health coverage and adequate food and nutrition, benefit from child-sensitive social protection and be protected from all forms of violence and exploitation. Public budget allocation and spending are the most sustainable ways through which quality services to children can be delivered and all their rights realised.

With the adoption of the General Comment, States will now have access to detailed guidance on how to implement UNCRC Article 4 and utilise public budgets to realise all children's rights, including the rights of the most excluded groups of children. It emphasises that States may not discriminate against any child or category of children through resource mobilisation, allocation or execution of public funds. In their budgetary decisions, States should consider all factors required for children of different ages to survive, grow and develop. The best interest of the child should be a primary consideration throughout the budgetary process.

The Working Group on Investment in Children also welcomes the General Comment
recommendation that 'States parties should regularly hear children's views on budget decisions that affect them, through mechanisms for the meaningful participation of children at the national and sub-national levels'. The UNCRC provides children with the right to participate in budgetary and other fiscal processes. Consultations with almost 2,700 children also confirmed that children want to participate in decision-making about government expenditure. They are convinced that their insights will help states to make better decisions.

The General Comment will also help States deliver on commitments made to investment in children in the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the UN Human Rights Council Resolution on 'Towards better investment in the rights of the child' and the European Commission Recommendation on 'Investing in Children'.

To support implementation of the General Comment, the Working Group has developed the following resources:

On Thursday 22 September 2016, the General Comment was launched in Geneva in an event organised by the Working Group in close collaboration with the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the EU and Uruguay.