Wednesday, November 25, 2009

UNICEF ROSA Conference discussed emerging findings from child poverty studies

The UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia recently held a regional conference entitled “Achieving Child Wellbeing and Equity in South Asia – Towards a New Understanding of Child Poverty and Deprivation,” in Dhaka, November 1-3, 2009. The conference brought together over 70 policymakers, researchers, UN agency representatives, civil society representatives, donors, and UNICEF staff from seven of the eight South Asian countries participating in the Global Study on Child Poverty and Disparities. The conference had the overall objective of exploring key findings from the country child poverty studies and discussing policy options available to South Asian governments in tackling child poverty, deprivations and disparities in a multi-dimensional and synergistic manner.
The conference was marked by a high level of representation from Governments, which included the Minister for Planning and the State Minister of Child Affairs, Bangladesh, the Deputy Minister of Health and Family, The Maldives, the Vice Chair of the Planning Commission, Nepal, as well as other senior economists and policymakers from Planning Commissions and from line ministries responsible for children.
The three days of discussions reviewed a number of important findings on child poverty and deprivations, and intra-country outcome disparities across income quintiles, socially excluded groups, and geographic regions. Emerging issues not covered in the methodology – relating to climate change, recurrent natural disasters, conflict, migration, urbanisation, drug abuse and extremism, among others were also discussed. Several country studies and the regional synthesis presented policy ideas and reviewed innovations from South Asia, such as the revision of the definition of poverty itself, or new initiatives on a child grant. It also aired the idea of proposing that child poverty be integrated into a review of the MDGs.
A key outcome of the meeting was a firm commitment by participating countries, including the government counterparts, to mainstream the findings and policy proposals from the studies into national development plans as well as action plans for children.
Most studies will be completed and launched in 2010.
Materials from the Conference can be found here.

Focal Point: Gabriele Koehler. For more information on the conference, please contact Anoop Singh Gurung and/or Gabriele Koehler.