A fair chance for every child.
Rapid economic growth has transformed the region, bringing with it remarkable social achievements. Yet, the progress has been unequal. More than 100 million children in the poorest decile alone are stunted, not immunised, deprived of quality education and other essential services.
Rapid economic growth has transformed the region, yet more than 100 million of the poorest children are being left behind
UNICEF Social Policy is supporting governments to develop more effective and equitable social and economic policies to help realise the rights of all children.
Social policy in this region has four main focus areas:
Despite high levels of economic growth, coupled with significant poverty reduction, inequalities within and across countries in the East Asia and Pacific region are widening. An increasing number of countries are recognizing the importance of social protection as a major public policy tool for stability and continued progress in the region. UNICEF helps countries strengthen and expand social protection systems that support the well-being of all children, especially those most at risk of discrimination and exclusion.
Public Finance for Children (PF4C)
How Governments use public funds matters enormously to children. If allocations are insufficient, concentrated on better-off groups or used inefficiently, all children, and especially the most disadvantaged, lose out—as does all of society in the long term. Government public funds are by far the largest and the most strategic tool for policy implementation. UNICEF is actively engaging national Governments from East Asia and Pacific and other key partners in Public Finance for Children (PF4C) activities, aiming to safeguard the adequacy, efficiency, effectiveness and equity of public spending for children.
Child Poverty & Research
Addressing child poverty is a core component of UNICEF’s social policy function. In East Asia and the Pacific, a UNICEF study showed that almost one-third of children in the region suffered from at least one form of severe deprivation. The analysis shows that the income gains in middle income countries in this region, have not necessarily translated into gains for child well-being. Given the harmful consequences poverty can have on children, society and the economy, UNICEF Social Policy continues to focus on child poverty measurement, analysis and research and implementing related policies and strategies.
Decentralization & Local Governance
The last decades have seen a clear trend towards decentralization across the globe, with local governments often strengthening their role in securing essential services for children. However, local governments often do not have the resources they need to ensure children receive safe water, quality education, nutritious food, sanitation and other services, preventing them from reaching every child, particularly the most vulnerable. UNICEF helps build the capacity of local governments to generate local data, plan and organize services, prepare for emergencies, budget equitably and monitor the impact of interventions on children.
Socio-Economic Impact and Policy Responses to COVID-19 in East Asia and the Pacific
The COVID-19 pandemic is casting a long shadow in countries across the world and has quickly moved beyond a health crisis alone.
The larger economic crisis generated by the containment measures is pushing millions of children and their families back into poverty; a crisis that will affect countries far into the future, even after the end of the lockdowns.
For children who were already poor and vulnerable, the situation is worsening. Those who had managed to emerge from poverty are falling back. And finally, there will be children who never experienced poverty before, now falling into poverty. Most of these families are not covered by any existing social welfare support, and in many cases do not have any kind of job and salary protection
UNICEF Social Policy teams at Country and Region level in East Asia and Pacific are engaging with governments and partners to: 1) assess, the extend and characteristics of the socio-economic impact of COVID19 on children; 2) expand social protection provisions, strengthening system responsiveness to shocks; and 3) defend the best interests of children in the 2021 Governments Budgets during times of possible reduction of revenues.