Investing financial resources to help children survive and develop to their full potential is, first and foremost, a moral imperative. But investing in children is also important on practical grounds. It yields positive benefits to economies and societies. Since the foundation of an individual’s health and well-being is laid in early childhood, the most opportune time to break the cycle of poverty, or prevent it from beginning, is during that time. Programmes that invest in early childhood development could generate considerable cost savings for government. UNICEF firmly believes that investments in children are one of best and most valuable long-term investments we can make.
UNICEF’s mission is to help countries ensure that all children enjoy the right to conditions which are necessary for a safe and happy childhood, as well as those that will allow them to develop to their full potential as human beings and citizens. To maximize resources for children, UNICEF supports governments in identifying funding sources, creating consensus around the need to invest more in children, and using public finance policies to achieve sustainable progress in the fulfillment of children’s rights. UNICEF works with governments and other partners, including civil society, other development agencies, and the donor community to help ensure that budget and policy priorities reflect this commitment.
UNICEF in action
While UNICEF’s specific initiatives will vary from country to country, there are several common goals, each contributing to stronger public finance policies for children:
Results for children
Social budgeting, public finance or public expenditure reviews have been carried out or are underway in nine countries in Eastern and Southern Africa region (ESAR). In countries such as Kenya, Malawi and Mozambique, these exercises have served to build the capacity of government officials, legislators, and civil society to understand and influence public spending for children. Decentralized social budgeting exercises have been carried out or are underway in Kenya, Angola and Uganda. The country office in South Africa supported the government in the implementation and finalization of a public expenditure tracking survey on publically financed ECD programs, while the country office in Tanzania is supporting the government to review and analyze the public finance management system and its impact on children.