UNICEF and the European Union presented Child Rights Toolkit: Integrating child rights in development cooperation

MINSK, 27 May 2015: UNICEF and the European Union presented innovative Child Rights Toolkit: Integrating Child Rights in Development Cooperation providing practical guidance on how to apply a rights-based, child-focused approach to development programming, budgeting, policy-making, and law-making.

UNICEF, the European Union and Latvia holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, share a strong commitment to “promote all human rights in all areas of external action” and to integrate children’s rights into all operational development cooperation activities.

H.E. Maira Mora, Ambassador, Head of the EU Delegation to Belarus, stressed that “there are no child-blind projects. All projects, whatever their thematic is, do have a negative or positive impact on children. Therefore, it is important to sensitize development actors working in sectors that may appear not traditionally or obviously connected to child rights, such as infrastructure, energy, agriculture, the private sector and the environment. The Toolkit that we are presenting today, provides set of instruments to do so”. 

The Toolkit contains more than 80 innovative and easy-to-use tools in eight thematic modules covering child rights in development programming, child participation and impact assessments, child rights in governance, in crisis situations and budgeting. It deliberately looks beyond traditional child-focused sectors (such as nutrition, health, and education) and includes practical guidance & readymade tools for different sectors and stages of the programming cycle.

“Children are central to development. They are the greatest drivers of change in society and gains achieved by investments in children far exceed those in other areas”, said UNICEF Representative to Belarus Rashed Mustafa Sarwar. “Without considering children across all sectors, when designing policies, approving budgets or programming development aid, we are likely to fail our objective of achieving sustainable and inclusive growth, prosperity and peace. To achieve sustainable, inclusive and rights-based development outcomes, children must be our highest priority and our first call on our resources. There is the clear business case that investments in children today yield long-term returns and benefits not only for children and their families but also for economies and societies in general.”

The Child Rights Toolkit comes at a critical moment. In the context of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 25th anniversary and as we prepare for a post-2015 world, business, as usual, is not enough. We need new ways of engaging partners and building political space for children, focusing in particular on the most affected and most disadvantaged children.

H.E. Mr. Mihails Popkovs, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Latvian Republic to Belarus, noted: “The year 2015 is the European Year for Development. Speaking about development, i.e. about the way our countries will live and develop in the nearest and more remote future, we cannot omit the topic of human development, establishing efficient education system, implementation of social protection policy and ensuring a favorable environment for development and growth of the younger generation. In this context, the launch of the Child Rights Toolkit: Integrating Child Rights in Development Cooperation is of a paramount importance as it focuses the attention of the government and the society on very tough but extra topical issues of child protection, rendering support in preparation for the adulthood, in becoming productive members of society. In other words, this toolkit covers all aspects of the creation of favorable settings for children’s wellbeing and development.”

The day before UNICEF conducted a one-day capacity training based on the Toolkit and aimed for development professionals working in bilateral and multi-lateral donor agencies, NGO and national partners.

The training was facilitated by Verena Knaus, Senior Policy Advisor, UNICEF Brussels Office, and one of the authors of the Toolkit. One of the participants, Anastasia Pigulevskaya who is working for the Belarusian Association for Assistance to Children with Disabilities and to Young People with Disabilities shared her reflections on the training: “It is useful not only for civil society partners engaged in the design or implementation of programmes with development focus but for all parties involved, including state bodies. I hope that we all are able to apply new knowledge and share it with colleagues to effectively guarantee child rights.” 

The Toolkit is freely available online in English, Spanish and French versions (http://www.unicef.org/eu/crtoolkit/).

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For further information, please contact Julia Novichenok,

Information Officer, UNICEF Belarus, phone: +375 29 635 21 16,

e-mail: jnovichenok@unicef.org, julia.novichenok@gmail.com