UNICEF assistance is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, under the four main groups of rights – survival, development, protection and participation of children. UNICEF works with governments, other UN agencies, non-governmental organizations and the private sector to achieve these together with other goals and plans of action set up by the United Nations. More specifically, the Millennium Development Goals and the mandate “A World Fit for Children.”
The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was developed by the General Assembly of the United Nations in November 1989. The Convention is a legally binding set of standards and obligations that each State Party acknowledges and agrees to implement.
Underlying principles of the CRC:
• Universality and non-discrimination
By 2015 all 189 United Nations Member States have pledged to:
Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
“A World Fit for Children”
A World Fit for Children is the outcome document adopted at the United Nations General Assembly’s Special Session on Children in May 2002.
A world fit for children is one in which all children get the best possible start in life and have access to a quality basic education, including primary education that is compulsory and available free to all, and in which all children, including adolescents, have ample opportunity to develop their individual capacities in a safe and supportive environment.
What will a World Fit for Children mean in the long run?
The sustained fulfillment of the rights of every child, specifically:
• A good start in life
UNICEF will contribute to the interrelated priority areas of the 2008-2012 UNDAF and their associated outcomes. The areas are:
(a) equitable economic growth and poverty reduction
CRC & CEDAW
The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) contains the legal entitlements for children in order that they may survive, be protected and develop to their full potential. The Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) refers to the legal entitlements of women and girls so that they may enjoy the same rights as men and boys with regard to their survival, protection and development. The two conventions are both mutually reinforcing and complementary – enriching the promotion and protection of children’s and women’s rights.
All 14 countries under UNICEF Pacific’s coverage have ratified to the CRC. They are now obligated to ensure that the Convention is implemented in their countries and monitored to track progress. State reports must be submitted to the Geneva Committee on the Rights of the Child two years after ratification for Initial Reports and then every five years subsequently. Reporting on the CRC, like other treaties and agreements, poses huge challenges for small island governments and administrations.
UNICEF Pacific supports countries to implement the CRC and CEDAW in several sectors including education, health, justice, social welfare and community development. In addition, UNICEF Pacific places specific focus on supporting governments’ central coordinating mechanisms for children – National Advisory Committees for Children (NACCs) – and the policies and development plans for children and youth that govern them.