Article 4 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child provides for the obligation of States Governments to invest the appropriate resources for guaranteeing that all the rights safeguarded by the convention are fulfilled “to the maximum extent of their available resources”. Safeguarding of these rights requires States to engage in budgeting processes that allocate the necessary amount of resources to provide access to social services for all children for them to be able to reach their full potential […]”.
In June 2016, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child made general comment No. 19 on Public Budgeting for the Realization of Children’s Rights which set out detailed guidance to states on their obligation to invest in children. The UN Committee recommends open, inclusive and accountable resource mobilization, budget allocation and spending. It clearly states that States must not discriminate against any child through resource mobilization, budgeting and spending. The committee underlined the fact that States parties are obliged to take measures within their budget processes to generate revenue and manage expenditures in a way that is sufficient to realize the rights of the child and suggested Governments to refer to principles of effectiveness, efficiency, equity, transparency and sustainability as tool of resource mobilization.
In 2018, October, during the World Bank annual meeting with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Human capital project was launched with the aim of accelerating more and better investments in people for greater equity and economic growth. The Human capital project set out an index with comprises key indicators linked with priority sectors for children: (i) the probability of survival to age five; (ii) a child’s expected years of schooling; (iii) harmonized test scores as a measure of quality of learning; (iv) adult survival rate (fraction of 15-year old that will survive to age 60 and (vi) the proportion of children who are not stunted. In overall the human capital project will request governments across the globe to focus more on the outcomes for children or risk millions of young workers having few skills for the modern workplace.
The WB human capital index analysis is corroborated by the findings of the UNICEF multidimensional child poverty analysis establishing the multidimensional poverty lines and identifying the overlaps in the dimensions of poverty. Among children 0-5 the most significant overlaps were identified in health, sanitation, water and nutrition which are all important drivers of stunting and poor health. For older children (5-17), most critical overlaps are in the education, water and housing, and health – all aspects of critical relevance for the human capital development of children. According to MODA (2018), 39 per cent of children in Rwanda are multidimensionally poor, with 19 per cent of children who were both monetarily poor and deprived in three dimensions of their well-being and 13 per cent of the children were deprived in at least three dimensions of wellbeing despite living in non-monetary poor households – an important implication in understanding the relationship between poverty and potentials for human capital development.
One of the pillars of the Government of Rwanda Vision 2020 is Human Resource Development and a Knowledge-based economy. The National Strategy for Transformation (NST1) emphasizes the human capital development under the social transformation pillar and lays out comprehensive priority areas to ensure robust improved living standard and ensure human capital development those include but not limited to: (i) Enhancing graduation from Poverty and extreme and promoting resilience (ii) Eradicating Malnutrition; (iii) Enhancing demographic dividend through ensuring access to quality Health for all and (iv) Enhancing the demographic dividend through improved access to quality education. Most of the strategic areas focuses on the investments in children as center of human capital development thus supporting to the delivery of the both vision 2020 ambitions and NST1 targets.
Government of Rwanda (GoR) aims to eradicate extreme poverty in 2024, to reduce malnutrition to less 19 percent in the same period. The Government has also committed to increase access to pre-primary education from 17 per cent in 2016 to 45 per cent in 2024 and ensure that the transition rate from primary to lower secondary increase from 71.1 per cent in 2015 to 92.4 per cent by 2024; the education sector infrastructure will also be strengthened with particularly focus on universal access to electricity and internet. Regarding the Health sector, the GoR aims to increase the number and quality of health human resources (general practitioners, specialists, nurses and qualified administrators), thus, by 2024, there will be;
- one medical doctor per 7,000 people from 10,055 in 2017
- one nurse per 800 people from 1,142 in 2017
- one midwife per 2,500 from 4,037 in 2017
Achieving these targets will require strategic interventions and joint effort across different players in the development process. Those include Government (central and decentralized) agencies, development partners, civil society organization, private sector and the community at large. Monetary investments through public and non-public budget will play crucial roles to ensure that children and youth in Rwanda realize the rights and maximize their full potentials.
It is against this background that continued high-level reflection on required investments in children and youth will be critical by monitoring, evaluating and analyzing the existing policies, strategies and plans. The focus shall be put under Health, Education and Social Protection, and water and sanitation as priority sectors which affect the children and youth. In that framework, Save the Children-Rwanda and Economic Policy Research (EPRN) and UNICEF are jointly organizing the first round of public policy dialogue on investing in children and youth- building human capita in Rwanda.
The main objective of the public dialogue is to enable stakeholders from Government (central and district), Development Partners, Non-Government Organization, faith based organizations Private sector organizations, researchers and academic reflect on the investments needs for children and youth in Rwanda toward building strong society with quality human capital. The public dialogue will be also an opportunity to show case the analytical works conducted in recent years around public financing for children which shall include budget briefs, fiscal space analysis, participatory budget planning and budgeting among others.
3. Expected results
After the policy dialogue, participants will have increased understanding of the scale and level of investments need in children and youth (Public Financing for Children) in Rwanda. They will also have an awareness on the investments trends in children and young people and the areas that require further improvements. The participants will additionally have an increased awareness of the analytical and planning tools supporting child-centered planning and budgeting.
4. Date and venue
23rd November 2018 at Serena Hotel
Government Institutions, Development Partners, Un Agencies, Local and International NGOs, Children’s representatives, Media and Academia (All Tertiary Institutions)
This public policy dialogue is financed by (i) European Union (EU) through Save the Children Rwanda, (ii) UNICEF and EPRN-RWANDA.