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As the world celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child - UNICEF calls on Myanmar policy makers to put children at the heart of the national budget and country reforms

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“Making Public Finance Work for Children” report launched

Nay Pyi Taw, 20 November 2014 –  On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Adoption of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, a UNICEF and Myanmar Development Resource Institute’s Centre for Economic and Social Development (MDRI-CESD) jointly researched report on “Making Public Finance Work for Children” was presented to H.E. Dr Lin Aung, Deputy Union Minister for Finance.

As UNICEF Representative to Myanmar, Mr. Bertrand Bainvel, handed the Deputy Union Minister for Finance the ground breaking report, he made the case to invest greater budget allocations to social sectors benefiting children at this critical juncture in Myanmar’s development.

“The national budget is one of the most powerful instruments in achieving society’s goals and promoting child rights. It represents society’s preferences and priorities. It is key to determine the maximum extent of Myanmar’s available resources that can be mobilized to help children meet their rights to health, education, social protection, nutrition and access opportunities to grow and develop to their full potential,” said Mr. Bertrand Bainvel.

“When Myanmar ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in July 1991, we made this commitment to Myanmar’s children: that we would do everything in our power to promote and protect their rights. We look forward to a continued and enhanced partnership with UNICEF in promoting the rights of children through participatory budgetary discussions,” said H.E. Dr Lin Aung, Deputy Union Minister for Finance.

In collaboration with MDRI-CESD, UNICEF conducted a rigorous assessment of the budgetary data published in Union Budget Laws covering the period 2011-12 to 2014-15. The “Making Public Finance Work for Children” report provides an analysis of budgets over the last four fiscal years.

This is the first time a single database containing four years of government expenditures and revenues has been created and analysed. The report identifies and highlights trends in public sector expenditures, their allocations and growth rates, especially those related to the social sector. It assesses the overall impact of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) on the budget and also examines the fiscal flows to the states/regions.

The report provides data for policy makers, including Parliamentarians, to consider and debate various options in furthering children’s welfare, building Myanmar’s human capital and promoting social cohesion and inclusive growth. It states, “Whilst Myanmar has seen an increase in social sector spending in the last four fiscal years, health, education and social welfare combined still receive far below the levels of funding provided to defence.  While increases in health and education expenditure have been witnessed, the proportion spent on social welfare has decreased”.

With rapid economic growth and rising revenues it is feasible for the government to increase investment in the social sector.

The country’s ability to grow and prosper depends heavily on the survival, health, education and protection of its people, particularly the youngest.

Fiscal budgets are the cornerstone to ensuring the realisation of children’s rights under the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child through health, education, social protection, nutrition and other policies that affect children every day.

A country’s growth can be sustainable only when social cohesion is simultaneously strengthened by reducing disparities between the rich and the poor and promoting equitable access to quality social services.  Specific attention in this area, and more broadly on social protection, is required to make sure that the most vulnerable families and children in Myanmar society are not by-passed by the current economic and social change.  The budget analysis complements efforts made on the legislative front, starting with the revision of the Child Law.

A copy of the report has been distributed to all Parliamentarians from the Pyithu Hluttaw and the Amyotha Hluttaw to inform their discussions on the 2015/2016 budget.

"UNICEF encourages the Myanmar Government to actively explore options for investing in health, education and social welfare. The time for enhanced social investment is now and if done right will help every child in Myanmar benefit from new opportunities.  Meeting the rights of the child is the right thing to do both for children and for the country,” Mr Bainvel concluded.

UNICEF in Myanmar
UNICEF has been working with the Government and the people of Myanmar since 1950. In partnership with the Government and the civil society, UNICEF’s current focus of work aims at reducing child mortality, improving access and quality of education and protecting children from violence, abuse and exploitation.
The current report is part of a series of publications by UNICEF to make the case for social investment for children in Myanmar, including:
- Child-focused State and Region Profiles of Myanmar, UNICEF 2010
- From Natural Resources to Human Capital: Practical, feasible, immediate resourcing solutions for Myanmar’s children, UNICEF, 2013
- Snapshot of Social Sector Public Budget Allocations and Spending in Myanmar, UNICEF 2013
To access these reports and for more information about UNICEF and its work in Myanmar, please visit: Follow us on Facebook.

For more information, please contact:
Alison Rhodes, Chief, Advocacy, Partnerships and Communication Section, UNICEF Myanmar, Tel: +95-1-230 5960-69,
Ye Lwin Oo, Communication Officer, Advocacy, Partnerships and Communication Section UNICEF Myanmar, Tel: +95-1-230 5960-69,




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