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Amidst widespread inequity, Mexico leads efforts to plan and monitor investment in children

MEXICO CITY,  23 December 2011 - The 2012 federal budget for Mexico will contain a critical innovation to improve equity for children and adolescents: an annex identifying the exact portions of the budget that will benefit them. 

This provision responds to UNICEF’s call for quality investment in children, through policies favouring the most disadvantaged sectors thanks to strategically targeted expenditures.

“Mexico’s economic trends are promising.  But behind positive national averages and Mexico being one of the world’s fifteen largest economies in terms of gross domestic product (GDP), lies a reality of poverty and marginalization for hundreds of thousands of children”, said Susana Sottoli, UNICEF Representative in the prosperous but inequitable Latin American country.

“Some areas of Mexico have development levels close to those of Scandinavia, while others are in line with those of sub-Saharan Africa". 

According to the latest available date, the village of Cochoapa in Guerrero State has a human development index (HDI) of 0.4354, below those of Angola, Guinea, or Yemen; while the capital’s neighbourhood of Benito Juárez has a HDI of 0.9510, being above those of Canada and Sweden.  In urban areas, 27 per cent of children live in extreme poverty, compared to only 8 per cent in the cities.  Children from indigenous communities are often the most marginalized, with least access to quality education and other basic services.

The 2012 federal budget, which amounts to US$ 269 billion, indicates in its new crucial annex that a total of $ 41 billion (being 15.4 per cent of the overall budget) will be spent on children and adolescents – especially for education (29.7 billion), health (7.9 billion), nutrition (2.6 billion), protection against abuse and violence (74 million).  This is a crucial step towards Mexico’s full compliance with Article 4 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which establishes the obligation for Parties to allocate appropriate resources for children – so that they may all live a dignified life and benefit fully from what their country has to offer.

“This is essential for the present of hundreds of thousands of children – so that they may be placed in the best possible position to exercise their rights”, said Ms. Sottoli, “Additionally, if children do not grow healthy and receive quality education today, they are unlikely to contribute to their country’s development in the years to come.  This innovation is a breakthrough towards greater transparency in the promotion of equity, and is also bound to benefit the national economy, as well as social inclusiveness and cohesion”.

The approval of this new measure was the result of UNICEF’s close cooperation with the Ministry of Finance since early 2010, which included knowledge generation and technical support aimed at promoting investment in children in a way that ensures equitable opportunities for all.  UNICEF’s advocacy work resulted in an agreement with the Ministry on 28 April 2011, leading to the preparation of the annex, which was then approved by Parliament before being signed by the President.

In its agreement with UNICEF, the Ministry of Finance also established monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, entailing the production of reports every three months on the implementation of the expenditure plan, in a way that promotes public accountability.  This will also enable UNICEF to better continue its research and formulate further policy recommendations.

“Mexico, a member of the G-20 and a pioneer of South-South cooperation, is in a key strategic position to show the path towards equity to other countries in the region and beyond”, said Ms. Sottoli, “As UNICEF we stand ready and keen to support the Government in exporting this experience for the benefit of children elsewhere”.

UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org

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For further information, please contact:
Maurizio Giuliano UNICEF México
Cel: +52-1-55-38582559 Tel: +52-55-52849555




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