Conference on “Implementing, protecting and monitoring the rights of the child at local level: lessons learned and challenges”
Belgrade, 14 March 2008 – Half way through the current Country Programme of Cooperation (2005-2009), UNICEF Serbia Office, together with the Serbian Government’s Council for Child Rights, held a conference to share experiences and lessons learned in making firm steps in the fulfillment of children’s rights.
“The mid-term programme review process revealed two major lessons learned. One is that data evidence is speaking more than thousand words. Once the data on the identified problem is properly gathered and analysed, the argument for neccessary change becomes very powerful. At the same time, if it proves that the expected results have been achieved, we know that we are moving in the right direction. The second lesson learned is that small, beautiful, but isolated projects even if there are many, do not trigger neither system nor behaviour change, both conditions for a sustainable change”, said Judita Reichenberg, UNICEF Area Representative.
The conference was building upon these two lessons. On one hand participants from ministries, the Parliament, local self-governments and other relevant institutions examined how to improve the mechanisms and tools for systematic collecting of data and monitoring of child rights, and how to use such evidence more effectively in reporting and advocacy for policy change. On the other hand, the conference was an opportunity to examine the practices and opportunities for establishing a synergy among the Local Plans of Action for children initiative and other relevant local projects.
The LPA is an instrument for the mobilization of resources to address problems related to children not sectoraly but in an integral manner. The introduction of the new model of programmatic public financing at local level is the right moment for inclusion of LPA activities in local budgets in a transparent manner. The LPA is also a good framework for testing different models of decentralization and ensuring that children are not negatively affected in the process.
The new law on Local Self Governance introduces a possibility for the institutionalisation of LPA and DevInfo teams at local level. The period prior to the new local elections in May 2008 is the right time for lobbying to include the persons responsible for the LPA implementation into the new municipal administrative structure.
The conference concluded that sustainable changes and development could be achieved only if policy making is based on evidence and carefully collected and processed data. The LPA is a program which contributes to these sustainable changes and to the development of a stimulative environment for children where their rights can be fullfilled.