What does 'implementation' mean in terms of the Convention on the Rights of the Child? Why is it important? 

For children's rights to have meaning, it is not enough for States to accept - or ratify - the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). They must put these rights into practice.

The Committee on the Rights of the Child has set out seven main ways this can be achieved:

  1. Reform laws: all national legislation must comply with the CRC.

  2. Set up independent national human rights institutions that monitor and protect children's rights.

  3. Develop a national strategy to guarantee children's rights.

  4. Make sure there is systematic coordination between all levels of government and the private sector.

  5. Allocate sufficient resources to guarantee children's rights and make sure children are protected from the effects of any potential economic downturn.

  6. Make sure everyone knows about the CRC through education, training and awareness raising.

  7. Work with civil society to fulfil children's rights.

These steps are set out in full in the Committee's general comment no.5 on 'General Measures of Implementation'.

Other relevant provisions of the CRC include article four - "States must do all they can to implement children's rights within their means and seek international assistance if need be."

Article 44 requires States to report to the Committee on measures they are taking to make children's rights a reality.

NGOs can also send their own report to the Committee to paint an alternative picture of what is happening in their country so the Committee has more information on which to base its recommendations. Many NGOs work in national coalitions to do this. This can give their report more credibility and force and avoids duplication. It is important that NGOs monitor their States' compliance with recommendations made by the Committee so they can be held to account. Contact Child Rights Connect for information and advice on submitting an alternative report to the Committee.