The CRC@18: It’s Impact on a Generation of Children
While it is difficult to attribute progress and tangible results for children and families solely to the existence of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, its overall positive impact on the lives of millions of children and families around the globe cannot be denied.
In particular, the CRC laid the groundwork for the rights-based approach UNICEF applies in all of its programming, which has led to positive steps in four areas: 1) improved access to basic services; 2) improved quality of these services; 3) favourable trends in child protection; and 4) increasing efforts to protect children caught in conflict.
1) Improved access to basic services such as health and education for all children, particularly formerly hard-to-reach or excluded groups.
Some examples of success include:
- Expanded access to life-saving health interventions has helped to influence the drop in the overall under-five mortality rate, which has dipped below 10 million children per year for the first time.
- Girls’ education: CRC has given a major boost to the development and acceleration of global initiatives and programmes to close the gender gap in education. Emergencies. Today it may be unthinkable, but only ten years ago education was not considered to be a necessary intervention in emergencies. Two direct results of applying the CRC in emergency situations include the development of 1) Child Friendly Spaces, a safe environment where children can gather, play games, socialize, and overcome the traumas of war; and 2) School-in-a-Box, a kit containing supplies and materials for teachers and students to ensure the continuation of children’s education within the first 72 hours of an emergency.
2) Improved quality of services, especially in education
The development of Child Friendly Schools, which create a safe, healthy, gender-sensitive learning environment, with parent and community involvement and provide quality education and life-skills, is a translation of a rights-based approach to education. This model or similar models are now developed or being developed in more than 90 countries, and adapted as national quality standard in 54 countries.
3) Favourable trends in child protection
Expanded birth registration, CRC is the driving force behind campaigns.
- Hazardous child labour has significantly decreased as a result of vigorous advocacy campaigns, improved legal protection and prevention and rehabilitation programmes. The CRC continues to be a vital instrument in this campaign.
- De-institutionalization, although the number of children flowing into institutions is still increasing, the solutions are focused on prevention and alternative care.
- Harmful traditional practices, sensitive issues like early marriage female foeticide, etc. are openly discussed and addressed in a growing number of countries.Alternatives to child detention, juvenile justice is being discussed, reviewed and changed in a growing number of countries
4) Increasing measures to protect children affected by war
Improved international standards, guidelines and programmes for the prevention, demobilization and reintegration of child soldiers.
- Children’s rights firmly on Peace and Security Agenda.
- Greater awareness/action on preventing unwarranted separation of children from their families.
- In 1990, around 13 million children died before the age of five. That number has now dropped to 9.7 million (2006) a nearly 25% decline.
- More than 1.2 billion people gained access to improved drinking-water sources between 1990 and 2004 and about 1.2 billion gained access to improved sanitation facilities during that period.
- The number of children working in hazardous labour globally has fallen by 26% in the past 4 years.
But despite this progress, much remains to be done.
- As of 2003, nearly 50 million births were going unregistered every year, nearly half of which occur in South Asia.
- According to the latest estimates in for 2002, some 1.2 million children are trafficked worldwide every year.
- It is estimated that more than 6 million female foetuses have been aborted in India over the past 20 years.
- According to 2005 estimates, around 13.5 million children are out of school in India (SRS 2005). Globally, more than 53 per cent of the children out of primary school are girls, meaning that for every 100 boys out of school, 115 girls are in the same situation.