Realising children’s rights through social policy in Europe and Central Asia
A Compendium of UNICEF’s contributions (2014—2020)
UNICEF’s Europe and Central Asia Region (ECAR) is diverse and dynamic, comprising 23 countries which range from low- to high-income, contain among the world’s largest and smallest populations, and are in various stages of the demographic transition. Children, adolescents, and youths in the region face unique challenges that have the potential to derail their opportunities, including exposure to man-made and natural disasters, risks of poverty and deprivation, discrimination and marginalisation, lack of opportunities to attain appropriate skills and employment, and inadequate access to core social services that impact child well-being. There is a strong tradition of social and public policies aimed at reducing poverty and deprivation in the region, and these have an important role to play in addressing the vulnerabilities associated with childhood and adolescence.
This Compendium documents UNICEF’s social policy interventions in Europe and Central Asia from 2014-2020 and includes 18 case studies from 15 different countries as well as stories from the field. The timeframe selected represents work undertaken during two of UNICEF’s global Strategic Plans (2014-2017 and 2018-2021), which have included four discreet areas of social policy focus. Where possible, documented evidence for impacts that have emerged more recently in 2019-early 2020 have also been included, though this Compendium notably excludes specific efforts to address COVID-19.
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The Compendium details UNICEF’s contributions in the ECA region across the following four Action Areas:
Strengthening social protection systems
Improving the adequacy and coverage of child cash benefits
Advocating and awareness raising for social protection
for children with disabilities and minorities
Reforming local provisions and cash-transfers to cover essential healthcare and education for migrant children
Improve social services effectiveness
Strengthening shock-responsive social protection systems
Supporting effective parenting
Designing and implementing a decentralized social care service (SCS) at the municipality level
Developing thematic Child-Friendly Cities Initiative guidelines to strengthen the capacity of municipality personnel on specific child rights issues