The South Asian Report on the Child-friendliness of Governments

Summary: The South Asian report is a new comprehensive rights-based report which, for the first time, objectively measures the extent to which the South Asian governments and non-state actors have contributed to the creation of child-friendly societies.

Based upon quantitative data feeding into a composite index and complemented by detailed country-level information, the report provides key information for more focused government action and effective non-governmental advocacy. The report builds on authoritative sources and has involved a large number of researchers from each country in South

New Groundbreaking Report on the Child-friendliness of the South Asian Governments 

The South Asian Report on the Child-friendliness of Governments evaluates the efforts of the governments in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka towards fulfilling the obligations of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The report finds that, regionally, India has done the most towards establishing an enabling legal and policy framework for children, closely followed by Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. At the same time, Maldives, Bhutan and Sri Lanka have scored very well on health, education and child protection outcomes. Overall, Sri Lanka has obtained the highest index score. It is important to note that all countries, including Afghanistan and Pakistan, have made important progress in most of the themes covered by the report.

Since 2000 in particular, governments in South Asia have put in place a basic enabling framework of laws, policies and institutions for the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and made important progress in children’s health and education. However, the countries that have done the most towards putting in place an enabling structural framework for children have not always been able to ensure as good education, health and protection outcomes as may have been expected, nor have they necessarily promoted children’s voices in decision-making at local and national levels.

There is, therefore, still a need to better ensure children’s legally enforceable right to health, education and protection, and to ensure that the structural framework in place has the power to create change. Stronger mechanisms are needed to translate new laws, policies and institutions into meaningful entitlements and services for children; data collection should be used more systematically to track progress; and further collective efforts of governments, inter-governmental organisations, non-state actors, communities and children are necessary, nurturing a cadre of child rights professionals and activists. Of great importance is the inclusion of children’s issues at the highest political level in national planning, budgeting and governance. 

Yet, South Asia is a vibrant region, with increased and fruitful interaction and synergies between governments and other child rights actors, including non-governmental organisations, children and their families. Having adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child 20–25 years ago, the countries in the region have all taken notable steps to respect, protect and fulfil the human rights of children. Substantial progress has been achieved in, for instance, improving access to education and health services and a few countries have had remarkable success in ensuring birth registration for most children and almost eliminated child marriage. The many successes and lessons learnt present an opportunity for the South Asian governments. As such, the foundational structures have often been established for continued work to transform promises made into tangible realities for children.

To make sure that this opportunity to build upon the progress is taken, the South Asian Report calls on the government in the region to take action through seven key recommendations. These include the need for governments to continuously follow up on the Concluding Observations, the Universal Periodic Review recommendations and the General Comments, and undertake high-level and authoritative coordination across ministries and levels of government. Ensuring adequate and effective utilisation of private and public resources is another key recommendation. 

Throughout the report, children’s participation in decision-making affecting their lives is identified as a key requirement for realising children's human rights and fulfilling the promises to children. As part of the general principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, child participation should therefore be promoted in all law and policy formulation affecting children, as well as in practice.

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Owner: Save the Children, HAQ, Plan International, TdH, CRYpdf: South Asia Report.pdf


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