Social Policy: Equitable opportunities for every child
Promoting strategies to reduce child poverty.
The most unequal region in the world
In Latin America and the Caribbean, 72 million children between the ages of 0 and 14 live in poverty and, of these, 28.3 million live in extreme poverty. In addition, Latin America and the Caribbean is currently the most unequal region in the world. For example, poverty is 20 points higher in rural than urban areas, and twice as much among indigenous or afro-descendant population as in the rest of the population. Also, the incidence of poverty for children under 14 is significantly higher than in other age groups. The various dimensions of inequality in the region - income, gender, geographic or ethnic-racial belonging - are related and potentiated, and drastically affect the opportunities and the fulfillment of children and adolescents` rights.
Socioeconomic inequality goes hand in hand with differences in access to services and social rights such as education, health or social protection. If these access gaps are not addressed deliberately through public policy action, they result in inequality for girls and boys, with devastating impact on their development, even from the beginning of their lives.
At UNICEF we are convinced that it is possible for all children and adolescents to have an equal opportunity in life to develop their full potential. With a presence in 36 countries and territories in the region, we work with governments, communities, academia, think tanks and the private sector to promote, design and implement efficient and effective social policies to reverse the conditions of poverty and inequality that affect children and adolescents.
In Social Policy, we focus on 4 strategic areas:
UNICEF understands poverty not only as the lack of income in the households for the satisfaction of needs but also as deprivations in essential aspects of children and adolescents` life rights such as health, nutrition, education, water, sanitation, and housing. For this reason, we conceptualize child poverty from a multidimensional perspective, and, in a special way, we promote its use for the evaluation of social policies and for the design of interventions with the aim of improving the well-being of children and adolescents.
Social protection is understood as the set of public and private policies and programs aimed at preventing, reducing and eliminating the economic and social vulnerabilities that lead to poverty and deprivation during the course of life. UNICEF's work focuses on the strengthening and/or adaptation of national social protection systems so that they meet the specific needs of children, adolescents, and their families.
PUBLIC FINANCE FOR CHILDREN:
The fight against child poverty, the reduction of inequalities and the strengthening of social protection systems in the region are enabled by sufficient and effective public investment. A timely and equitable investment in childhood and adolescence contributes to equal opportunities and facilitates social mobility. UNICEF seeks to support the mobilization, allocation, and utilization of public financial resources to obtain sustainable and equitable results for children. The strategic focus is based on the generation of evidence, the support in the budgetary processes and frameworks generation, as well as the monitoring of budget implementation.
DECENTRALIZATION & LOCAL GOVERNANCE:
Latin America and the Caribbean is the second most populated and unequal region in the world. The region presents challenges to address the inequalities and shortcomings that compromise the development possibilities of children and adolescents. Currently, 4 out of every 5 children and adolescents live in urban areas, 51.2% of those living in cities live with precarious housing conditions and 8.6% do not have access to adequate prenatal care, among other indicators. From UNICEF we work on the development of a regional action strategy child-friendly cities, which will allow qualitative and quantitative data for decision making and policy formulation sensitive to childhood and adolescence.