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Social budgeting and public finance work in context

UNICEF’s mission is to help countries ensure that all children enjoy the right to conditions 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. The extent to which public investments are appropriately targeted toward boys and girls makes a huge difference in the fulfillment of these goals.

From a child rights perspective, social budget work focuses on building long-term institutions for child-friendly policies, as reflected in public sector budgets. Among the outcomes of social budget work are more—and more effectively channeled—resources for children, women and poor families.

In trying economic times when public sector and household resources are tight, it is particularly important to ensure that public finance policies are geared towards protecting services for children. Without this protection, we not only threaten the progress made toward the Millennium Development Goals, but risk planting the seeds of poverty for future generations.

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. Visit our Eyes on the Budget website to learn more.

Helping to ensure maximum available resources for children

The Convention on the Rights of the Child indicates that states parties have the obligation to undertake measures to the maximum extent of their available resources and, where needed, within the framework of international cooperation to ensure 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.

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:

  • Improving equity by helping to ensure that children, women and poor families are not marginalized in both the actual public sector allocations as well as the decision-making process of arriving at these;
  • Improving efficiency by helping to achieve the best possible results for children for the amount of resources committed;
  • Contributing to stability by helping to secure adequate resources to sustain investments in the social sectors and promote social protection, notably during crises.



Documents and publications

  • Global Economic Crisis and Recovery
  • Child Poverty and Disparities
  • Migration
  • Social Budgeting
  • Social protection

Latest news

The Road to Pratolino
Global Consultation on Social Policy, Equity, Rights and Development
21-24 Feb 2012

Eyes on the Budget

UNICEF and Fordham University collaborated to create the Eyes on the Budget website that hosts an international database on social budgeting innovations and innovators.

Global Inequality: Beyond the Bottom Billion - A Rapid Review of Income Distribution in 141 Countries

This working paper discusses the negative implications of rising income inequality for development.

The Case of Mexico's 1995 Peso Crisis and Argentina's 2002 Convertibility Crisis
Paola Pereznieto

This working paper looks at the two most significant economic crises in Latin America during the 1990s and early 2000s.