All 182 countries that have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child have agreed to allocate their best available budget towards the rights of the child. Disappointingly, not one country in the Index lives up to this promise. A positive trend is the increased spending on children’s rights in recent years by several developing countries, including Peru, Zambia and Nepal. Peru increased the budget reserved for children and adolescents by 13% between 2013 and 2016.
Marc Dullaert, founder and chairman of KidsRights: “The increased spending by these developing countries should serve as an inspiration to all nations to spend more on children’s rights. At the same time it must be recognised that corruption, the absence of a stabile child rights legislative and policy framework, as well as the lack of monitoring of funds often still prevent budget increases from achieving sustainable improvements to the daily lives of children in many countries. These issues must be resolved with priority to achieve long-term advances in such areas as health, education and child protection.”
Lack of child participation opportunities: a global cause for concern
Disappointingly, not one country in the entire Index achieved the highest score on the indicator Respecting the views of the child. 46 (out of 179) countries scored the lowest possible score on child participation, with Asia and the Pacific region performing particularly poorly. Marc Dullaert: “Promoting child participation is part of KidsRights’ core mission. We believe that children have the potential to be changemakers with the power to move the world. KidsRights therefore strongly urges countries both rich and poor to ensure that they structurally engage children and youth in decision-making processes and incorporate their views on matters that affect them directly.”
Norway is 2018’s number one on children’s rights, followed by Iceland (2), Portugal (3), Spain (4), Switzerland (5), the Netherlands (6), Finland (7), Germany (8), France (9) and Slovenia (10). Worst performing countries overall in the Index are Sierra Leone (182), Afghanistan (181), Chad (180), Democratic Republic of the Congo (179), Equatorial Guinea (178), Central African Republic (177), Guinea-Bissau (176), Papua New Guinea (175), Eritrea (174) and The United Kingdom (173).
Per-state performances are not measured in terms of the absolute contributions to children’s rights, but are judged on countries’ efforts relative to their socioeconomic capabilities. The United Kingdom’s extremely low ranking, for example, does not in itself indicate that children are worse off there than those who live in less wealthy countries. It does mean, however, that the UK has underperformed drastically compared to its socioeconomic standing and capabilities.
The KidsRights Index boasts improved methodology in 2018, specifically in the domain of Education, which traditionally suffered from data gaps within various key indicators. From 2018 onwards the
Education domain is based on the indicator ‘Expected years of schooling’. Moreover, 17 countries that previously were not included in the KidsRights Index due to a lack of data were added to the Index in 2018, including the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Fiji, San Marino and Sudan. Notwithstanding the improved data collection, KidsRights and Erasmus University Rotterdam warn that there is still a long way to go and urges countries to do much more to provide data on their children’s rights performance.