Data and evidence are vital tools to strengthen national policy making on children
Access to social services remains a challenge for many children in Myanmar. That is why it is a priority to expand the national social protection system to ensure all people – especially the most vulnerable, including children – are included.
Building a strong social protection system requires adequate financing – as well as solid evidence in the form of quality data and statistics. Crucially, quality data allows changes to be measured over time, enabling decision-makers to assess whether national social policies are being effective, and whether budgets are being well allocated for optimum results for all citizens, and for national growth and development.
Ensuring universal access to birth registration is a vital step towards building an inclusive society with protections for all. Myanmar has achieved remarkable results in registering children’s births, with coverage jumping from 72 per cent in 2009 to 81 per cent in 2015. Still, many children continue to be left out.
Establishing effective certification tools for children with disabilities is also key to building social inclusion, as these tools can enable pathways for the children to access their rights and fully participate in society.
Evidence underpins all UNICEF’s work, and our long and productive relationship with Myanmar means we are in a key position to support the Government’s efforts to build robust national data systems that reveal the situation of children and how to improve it, including by increasing public finance for the social sector and children.
The latest comprehensive UNICEF report updating information on the situation of children in Myanmar is providing key evidence for advocacy on child rights issues, and increased budgets.
Together with the national Central Statistics Office, we co-chair the Vital Statistics Cluster that is bolstering national and regional capacity to capture data and implement social policy, strategies and budgets.
Our technical assistance supports the Government to create baselines and measure progress related to targets for children in the Sustainable Development Goals.
UNICEF supported the setting up of Myanmar’s first comprehensive social sector budget database, and the launch of the country’s first ever National Social Protection Strategic Plan in 2014.
Our continuing analyses of the national census have drawn out important findings on children that are generating advocacy issues for initiatives in health, education and water and sanitation. And our research on children with disabilities has provided evidence on a key area that needs to be addressed as Myanmar seeks to build social protection for the most vulnerable members of society.
UNICEF is at the forefront of a major effort to boost the national system for birth registration, which has increased significantly but remains low in some geographic areas and among some socio-economic groups.