Child Rights Monitoring and Social Protection
Promoting the best interests of children in social and economic policy and public discourse.
Child Rights Monitoring
There is a high level of disparity of access to social services and education among Kosovo children. Differences in socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds, as well as geographical differences are often the root cause of this inequity. Problems that go unmeasured often tend to go unsolved.
Yet, the implementation of the legal framework on children’s rights is often undermined by inadequate financial and other resources, particularly at the local level because of limited political prioritization and lack of coordination.
Despite the political commitment, weak implementation of legal and policy framework remains a critical bottleneck to achieve progress on the realization of children’s rights. Significant data gaps especially calculation of population estimates by age at municipality level, and lack of institutional capacities to generate reliable data constitute another constraint hindering evidence-based policy making, monitoring and targeted interventions. Additionally, a lack of capacities among line ministries and other relevant institutions coupled with lack of data literacy impedes evidence-based planning and demand for high quality data.
There is a need to strengthen administrative data systems and further build institutional capacities for data generation.
Disaggregated data for the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities and other specific categories often does not exist, and if they are available, they may be unreliable, and the absence of a qualitative data management system hampers the provision of a coherent response.
At the central level, an indicator framework on education, juvenile justice and health areas has been finalized, however the lack of a coordinated system for data collection and monitoring hinders progress monitoring and development of tailored interventions for realization of children’s rights.
While the Kosovo Agency of Statistics (KAS) is responsible for collecting data from all stakeholders, analyzing that data and reporting back on them, a unique system of data collection on children’s rights within KAS has not been established yet. NGOs carry out assessments, but in general they do not conduct structural and sufficiently consistent data collection.
Every child has the right to survival, education, development and participation. To protect and fulfill these rights, child rights must be mainstreamed into policy making, and the normative framework for children’s rights must be strengthened.
UNICEF gathers evidence on the situation of children and mothers, mapping key internationally comparable data that is used to make better decisions about the health and well-being of the most marginalized children and mothers.
UNICEF is strategically investing in data collection and is helping transform the data landscape in Kosovo. The global Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) programme is the flagship of this strategy. The MICS household survey findings are being used extensively as a basis for policy decisions and programme interventions, and for influencing public opinion on the situation of children and women in Kosovo.
Implemented by the Kosovo Agency of Statistics, the 2019 MICS6 provides an opportunity to further strengthen national capacities to generate high quality and international comparable data. The financial contribution of Kosovo institutions for MICS implementation provides the basis for increased institutional ownership and use of data to inform future planning.
MICS information will fill in a significant data gap to inform the SDG implementation – generating more than half of all household survey-based SDG indicators. The implementation of MICS with general population and Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities will allow for equity gap analysis to inform targeted policies and decision-making for most marginalized.
To strengthen the admin data system and reporting on children’s rights, UNICEF Kosovo is supporting the Office of Good Governance/Prime Minister’s Office, KAS and line ministries to finalize the indicator framework on child protection and develop an integrated data collection and reporting system for children.
Every fifth child in Kosovo lives in poverty. More than six percent live in extreme poverty.
For many people living in Kosovo, living standards fall palpably and dramatically below EU norms, a point reinforced by Kosovo having the lowest Human Development Index rating in the region. The distribution of the number of deprivations for each child remains quite high. One out of four children under 18 years face simultaneous deprivations being deprived in at least two dimensions or more, and 1% or less are deprived in four dimensions or more. Even for indicators that show good results for the majority of children, the equity gap remains large. The results are much worse for specific groups including children from the poorer segments of the population where problems are often concentrated and combined.
For many, living standards in Kosovo fall palpably and dramatically below EU norms, a point reinforced by Kosovo having the lowest Human Development Index rating in the region. The distribution of the number of deprivations for each child indicates that the breadth of deprivation of children is high. Children face simultaneous deprivations with one out of four children under 18 years being deprived in at least two dimensions. Furthermore, even indicators that show good results for the majority of children, there is a significant proportion for whom the equity gap remains large. The results are much worse for specific groups including children from the poorer segments of the population where problems are often concentrated and combined.
Childhood presents a window of opportunity to facilitate a child’s ability to reach their full development potential.
Childhood is also a time when deprivations have serious and sometimes severe consequences which can last a lifetime. Social protection and particularly child-sensitive social protection, is a key tool we use to reduce child poverty, vulnerability and deprivation, and facilitate children’s access to services and opportunities to realize their development potential.
The widespread and chronic nature of poverty in Kosovo poses a great challenge for the government and its social partners.
Indeed, institutions have been tasked with addressing one of the most pressing and so far, intractable of social issues with very limited resources at their disposal. The residual system of social protection that is currently in place struggled to deliver on its expectations during a time of consistently good growth.
UNICEF supports the government to refine and transform its programmes from being vehicles delivering remedial assistance on single-issues, to a suite of preventive measures that try to break the cycle of poverty and bring wider social benefits. We support a path for reform that situates social protection as a key focus of policymaking. This is especially important given Kosovo’s European Union Accession goals and international commitments, notably in Human Rights and Children’s Rights.
Assisting the Government in developing a child-sensitive social protection reform
UNICEF is advocating that the reduction of economic and social vulnerabilities should be at the heart of social protection objectives.
Equally important components of social protection are cash or in-kind transfers from the government or programmes which grant access to services such as healthcare, education and social services, and provide support to families and individuals in at-risk situations. To enable access and ensure quality of social services there is an urgent need to ensure sustainable and adequate funding for social services in Kosovo.
As part of a continuous improvement of the social assistance scheme, around 53,000 children presently benefit from additional child benefits introduced for eligible recipient families as the result of the amended Law on Social Assistance Scheme with UNICEF’s support.
UNICEF supported the development of a child-friendly local governance system model “Gjakova Fit for Children’ which includes municipal regulation, child-friendly municipality building blocks, mapping of the institutions tool, strategy and action plan format, monitoring indicators and self-assessment tool. In partnership with the Coalition of NGOs on Child Protection (KOMF) this model is being replicated in an additional seven municipalities.
With our support, KOMF has rallied 27 NGOs members to advocate for children. Building on expertise and field experience of its member organizations, KOMF is placing child rights, especially those of the most vulnerable, at the heart of the policy debate with a wide range of stakeholders, including the Office of the President, the Assembly, line ministries, municipal authorities and media.
These resources on social protection and inclusion represent just a small selection of materials produced by UNICEF and its partners in Kosovo.