|© UNICEF Lao PDR/Jim Holmes|
Advocacy for children
As the countries in East Asia and the Pacific continue to make development gains, UNICEF’s work in the region has become less about delivering services directly to children and more about providing policy advice based on sound evidence and helping build national capacities to assist governments in fast-tracking achievement of the MDGs.
UNICEF is working to put and keep children’s rights on the agenda in East Asia and the Pacific. This requires influencing and working with a wide array of partners, including policy makers, government and civil society leaders, academic researchers, bilateral and multilateral donors. UNICEF seeks to ensure that children’s rights are at the forefront of economic and social policies, legislation and budget allocations.
UNICEF is harnessing data to provide governments with a clearer picture of where spending should be directed, what policies need creating or changing, what systems require establishing or reform, and what populations need targeting so that disparities can be reduced or eliminated.
UNICEF advocates, in particular, for better and more inclusive services for all children and families and works with governments to encourage more targeted approaches to reach those most in need.
UNICEF is also focusing on public-private partnerships (PPPs), given the increasingly important role of the non-state sector in providing essential services in East Asia and the Pacific. UNICEF advocates for greater government engagement with, and more effective regulation of, non-state service providers to ensure it is of high quality and meets the needs of all children, including those in disadvantaged and marginalized communities.
UNICEF has also been harnessing its advocacy power to push for government action on critical issues affecting children. In the Philippines, for example, UNICEF advocated with the government to toughen laws on child pornography, supporting the enactment of the country’s first Anti-Child Pornography Act in 2009.
In China, a US$1.6 million UNICEF-funded maternal and child health project helped to convince the government to scale up the programme to reach 420 million people. This US$160 million government investment resulted in a substantial reduction in the maternal mortality rate, to 49 per 100,000 (down from 76 per 100,000).
UNICEF is also well placed to contribute to the regional response to climate change through high-level advocacy, by enhancing knowledge and understanding of children’s specific vulnerabilities, and by collaborating with partners in specific areas of expertise, including water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), education, health and child protection.