Social Policy


UNICEF in action: Strategy & priorities

Child poverty

Cash transfers

Social budgeting

Social protection

Results for children


UNICEF in action: Strategy & priorities

© UNICEF/NYHQ2007-1400/Pirozzi
Two girls carry sugar cane passing through a tea plantation in Western Province, Rwanda.

Through its Social Policy work, UNICEF aims to influence public policy decisions to enhance children’s survival and development opportunities.
A key part of this work includes the analysis of social and economic trends and policies. UNICEF looks into the specific aspects of child poverty and disparities and how they interfere with the fulfillment of children’s rights, and then develops concepts on how to reduce their negative impact.

UNICEF’s Social Policy strategy is grounded in human rights and pro-poor development. By attempting to reach the most vulnerable children and their mothers, UNICEF’s Social Policy initiatives are intended to enable the poor to participate in the process of economic and social development, thus reducing disparities.

The initiative is guided by a number of overarching concerns and focuses on:

  • Understanding child poverty and the impact of the global economic crisis on children;
  • Social protection with an emphasis on cash transfers; and,
  • Social budgeting.

© UNICEF/NYHQ2008-0765/Isaac
Two children and their caregiver in a community children’s home in Katutura Township, Namibia.

Child Poverty

While an adult may fall into poverty temporarily, for a child poverty can last a lifetime, since he or she rarely will have the opportunity to fully recover from health and nutrition deficits encountered as an infant. UNICEF therefore considers combating child poverty a key component of its Social Policy response. This includes research and analysis aimed at understanding the full extent of child poverty, including deprivations in the areas of health, education, nutrition, participation and protection from harm, exploitation and discrimination.

Social protection

UNICEF advocates for child-sensitive social protection systems that mitigate the effects of poverty on families, strengthen families in their child care role, enhance access to basic services for the poorest and most marginalized, and provide special services to children who live outside a family environment.

UNICEF has identified key social protection interventions that can have a direct impact on the most vulnerable women and children, including legal and judicial reforms and cash transfers.

Social Budgeting

To maximize resources for children, UNICEF supports governments in identifying funding sources, institutionalizing public participation in the budgeting process, 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. 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.



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