EU Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027
Investing in a better future for children and youth everywhere
Investing in children’s health, protection and education holds the promise for a much better life for hundreds of millions of them. Making significant investments in children from early childhood through to the second decade of life brings opportunities to break the cycles of poverty and inequality and strengthen societies into the future.
UNICEF and the European Union (EU) remain committed to realizing the 2030 Agenda and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which in turn advance children's rights. Through its pledge to leave no one behind, we strive to ensure adequate and efficient investments are made to benefit children’s wellbeing, especially for the hardest to reach, the most vulnerable, and the most excluded.
Towards a new budget that leaves no child behind
The Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021-2027 defines the size and intent of the EU budget over this 7-year period. It provides a unique opportunity for the EU to match its internal and external policies and initiatives with the necessary financial resources to effectively address global challenges, with an emphasis on inclusiveness and shared prosperity for all nations, peoples, and all parts of society. The MFF is an expression of political priorities as much as a budgetary planning resource.
As the EU develops its position on the MFF, the United Nations agencies, coordinated by UNICEF, call on the EU to commit resources and undertake concrete actions that save lives, build and strengthen communities’ resilience, as well as contributing to sustainable development, to the realisation of human rights, and to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.
UNICEF particularly asks the EU to invest in children – especially the hardest to reach, the most vulnerable, and the most excluded – and to consider the following recommendations to ensure people-driven accountability and tracking of its investment for children:
- Ensure that development aid primarily serves to alleviate poverty, achieve sustainable development, tackle discrimination and inequality, and empower the most marginalised.
- Ensure the rights of the child are effectively integrated and applied across all policies, sectors and programmes relating to bilateral and multilateral development assistance and humanitarian aid.
- Invest in a dedicated child rights programme in its future external aid instrument(s).
- Explicitly maintain ring-fenced levels of spending for basic social services at the current 20% benchmark, with specific focus on health, education, and social protection.
- Take a systems-strengthening approach to programmes and initiatives focusing on child rights in development and humanitarian contexts, and promote resilience-based approaches.
- Invest in child and youth-centred approaches that are participatory, empowering, and innovative, and put in place accessible, child-friendly accountability systems at headquarters and field levels.
- Establish systems to effectively track EU investment in children through its Official Development Assistance (ODA) and Humanitarian Aid.
The best interests of current and future generations of children should be given serious consideration in all budget decisions. Children in and outside Europe count on the EU to mobilise revenues and manage public resources to deliver programmes aimed at realising their rights.