|© Istituto degli Innocenti|
|The Spedale degli innocenti, a former orphanage in Florence, Italy, where UNICEF’s Innocenti Research Centre is located.|
FLORENCE, Italy, 5 June 2007 – The UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre (IRC) in Florence was established in 1988 as a centre of reflection and study on sensitive and emerging issues affecting children. It plays a critical role in strengthening UNICEF’s work around evidence-based knowledge.
The challenge for IRC is to continue this academic work in a way that is relevant to UNICEF’s programmes in the field, providing research that can be used to promote policy dialogue with other UN bodies, governments, international development agencies, research institutions and non-governmental organizations.
To that end, IRC today launched a new website highlighting its research on a wide range of social and economic issues involving children worldwide. In addition, the site features IRC's flagship report on child rights in industrialized countries.
IRC will also extend its reach next month in Italy, at a high-profile international policy conference on safeguarding the rights of children and advancing the Millennium Agenda. The San Rossore meeting, hosted by the Tuscan Regional Government, will draw representatives from European Union nations and developing countries, as well as regional and municipal authorities, civil society organizations and academic institutions.
Evidence and analysis
The centre’s most significant contributions to date have been in the areas of socio-economic policy analysis and the promotion of children’s rights.
By demonstrating impacts on children, mothers and families, IRC research has provided evidence and analytical support to UNICEF and its partners in advocating for improved public policies.
The centre collects reliable information on the changing needs of children in developing, industrialized and transition countries. In the current programme, attention is focused particularly on the situation of children living in poverty; financing of services for children; and responses to poverty, including the problems of children affected by migration.
These issues are addressed in IRC publications such as ‘Report Card No. 7: An overview of child well-being in rich countries’ and the ‘Innocenti Social Monitor’, both of which are available on the new website.
|The Innocenti Research Centre’s new website highlights its work on a wide range social and economic issues involving children worldwide.|
Promoting children’s rights
IRC has also helped UNICEF and its partners promote a new global ethic based on international awareness of the fundamental human rights of children. Through its studies on child protection and development issues – from education to child sexual exploitation, from HIV/AIDS to armed conflict – the centre has contributed to the effective implementation of the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) by governments and other important actors.
Researchers at IRC address these issues from both global and regional perspectives, including a focus on the realization of children’s rights in rich (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries. The centre has recently focused on the issue of child trafficking, for which a European study is now being completed.
Last year, IRC contributed significantly to the UN Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children.
Child poverty and social exclusion
The centre’s involvement in this summer’s S. Rossore meeting, which will take place on 19 July, came about in the framework of ongoing institutional collaboration between the Tuscany Region and UNICEF. In 2006, the president of the region announced his commitment to devote the 2007 annual meeting to children’s rights.
Guided by the agenda agreed upon at the United Nations Special Session on Children in 2002, the S. Rossore meeting will give particular attention to child poverty and social exclusion, including exclusion of migrant children. Participants will consider the role of regional and municipal authorities in the promotion of good governance for children’s rights at the local level.
Addressing child poverty and social exclusion is key to advancing the UN Millennium Agenda and achieving the Millennium Development Goals, and constitutes a central dimension of the European Union social inclusion agenda.
IRC collaborates with an extensive network of researchers and policy institutions concerned with children’s issues in the industrialized and developing world. Core financial support for the centre is provided by the Government of Italy, while specific projects are also funded by other supporters. Since 2001, IRC partners and donors have included the Governments of Finland, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Japan, Sweden and the United Kingdom.