European Commission and UNICEF launch pilot programme in 7 Member States to break the cycle of child poverty and social exclusion
“Child Guarantee” to introduce innovative approaches to national budgeting and planning
BRUSSELS/GENEVA, 8 October 2020 – The European Commission and UNICEF today announced the start of a pilot programme to address the issue of child poverty. The “Child Guarantee” pilot programme, to be implemented in seven Member States, will undertake innovative approaches for prioritizing children in national budgets and planning processes to tackle child poverty and social exclusion.
Nearly one quarter of children in Europe today are at risk of poverty and social exclusion. Childhood poverty and deprivation significantly affect the lives of children, impairing their access to healthcare, education, nutritious food, quality housing and childcare. The European Commission has made a commitment to break the cycle of poverty and disadvantage through the adoption of the “Child Guarantee,” planned to begin in early-2021.
The governments of Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania and Spain, in collaboration with UNICEF and the European Commission, are testing innovative approaches and developments of potential national action plans to reduce child poverty and address systematic disadvantages for particularly vulnerable groups of children. These include children from the Roma community, children in institutional care, children living with disabilities, and refugee and migrant children. The pilot programme will help to strengthen the capacities of those Member States to regularly collect, analyse, and present data on indicators related to both child poverty and social exclusion.
“In Europe today, far too many children are at risk of poverty and exclusion. We must build our societies based on inclusion and equal opportunities,” said European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Mr. Nicolas Schmit. “Children should have access to education, healthcare, nutritious food, quality housing. As we face the socio-economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is our collective responsibility to ensure that we protect our children and give them the best possible start to life. I appreciate the good collaboration with UNICEF in helping us shape the Child Guarantee.”
UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, and Special Coordinator for the Refugee and Migrant Response in Europe, Ms. Afshan Khan, said, “By working to address the underlying causes of child poverty and deprivation, through the examination of policies needed to accelerate change and the modeling of innovative approaches, we can ensure that the most vulnerable children can break the cycle of poverty and disadvantage, and are given an equitable chance in life.”
As families, societies, and governments around the world struggle to cope with the devastating impacts of COVID-19, which are expected to result in significant economic contraction and a likely increase in child poverty, these efforts have taken on a new urgency.
The “Child Guarantee” will provide a policy framework and trigger action and investments by Member States to close the gaps in terms of access to quality services for children who are in need.
As part of the kick-off of Phase III of the Child Guarantee, an Online High level Launch event will be held on 12 November 2020 with the European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights and UNICEF´s Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia. Government ministers overseeing labor and social affairs, family issues, and related portfolios in Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania and Spain will also participate.
The launch event will look at the actions Member States are taking to advance this ambitious and timely programme. It will promote equal opportunities, by ensuring that children in need have access to the services and support that are essential for their development and well-being.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit https://www.unicef.org/eca/.