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
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
- Flexible monitoring and evaluation reports that track
progress and yet allow for appropriate correction in courses
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
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
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
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?