English | Français | Español |||
United Nations Special Session on Children Go to UNICEF homepageGo to UN homepage
Photo: Kurdish girl. Iraq, 1997. Copyright Sebastiao Salgado/Amazonas
Photo: Kurdish girl. Iraq, 1997. Copyright Sebastiao Salgado/Amazonas

Follow-up: National plans of action

'A World Fit for Children' concludes with a section on follow-up actions and assessment to facilitate implementation and to ensure monitoring, periodic reviews and reporting. UNICEF is requested to prepare and disseminate information on progress made. In this context, plans of action are being developed in many countries and regions in the world.

Participation is key

The Plan of Action of 'A World Fit for Children' includes the development of national plans of action (NPAs) and, where appropriate, regional plans by the end of 2003. These plans are to be based on specific, time-bound and measurable goals. More importantly, they must take the best interests of the child into account. Action plans must be consistent with national laws and, at the same time, uphold the human rights and fundamental freedoms set forth in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

NPAs with children

At the Special Session, several events focused on how effective NPAs could be developed and implemented and how children could be involved in the process.

  • At one event, organized by the Under-18 Participation Task Force of the NGO Committee on UNICEF, participants identified seven key elements that NPAs should include:
  • Time-bound, measurable goals
  • Regional, sub-regional and local plans of action
  • Cooperation between government and civil society, including children and youth
  • Cooperation between different sectors
  • Focused budgets and adequate resource allocation
  • Good communication among agencies and with the general public
  • Flexible monitoring and evaluation reports that track progress and yet allow for appropriate correction in courses of action.

In 14 nationwide surveys conducted by Save the Children on the theme of children's participation in NPAs, children had also underscored the need to be consulted. Santiago Garcia Couto, 15, from Uruguay, simply stated, "We have to be consulted because we live our problems and we are the ones who know the solutions."

There are many ways to involve children and young people in the development of National Plans of Action. See, for example, the very comprehensive suggestions from Save the Children (Canada) [Word document] (this link will take you to a new, non-UNICEF website--UNICEF has no control over content or availability).

NPAs and NGOs - Guidance from the CRC and children

"When the Special Session is over," UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan told NGOs, "the UN will look to NGOs to act as watchdogs and monitor promises made. You must keep us on our toes."

NGO members of the Child Rights Caucus and others pledge to work with governments to ensure that the NPAs will contain concrete steps towards the full implementation of the CRC. The Caucus will therefore remain active during the next year while NPAs are being developed, taking a proactive stance wherever possible.

One measure of NGOs' success will be the degree to which they have encouraged children's involvement in the planning and implementation of NPAs. Bill Bell of Save the Children UK, noted that real change will happen at the local level, where NGOs must get youth involved, listen carefully to their needs and their ideas, strengthen child-led organizations, create opportunities for children to participate on their own terms and provide support for building children's capabilities.

As a basis for the follow-up action at national level, see the information produced by countries in preparation for the Special Session, in How is your country doing?


Special Session home: World leaders 'Say Yes' for children
'A World Fit for Children'
Special Session highlights
Supporting events
Voices of the Special Session
Child and adolescent participation
NGO participation
Follow-up: CRC - A cornerstone
Follow-up: National Plans of Action
Follow-up: Global Movement for Children
Documentation and links
Background information