Report by:Haffiya Elyas.
Children’s rights and wellbeing are intrinsically linked with public budgets. It is a government’s budget that reveals how much money it intends to raise, from whom and how that money will be spent across sectors. As such, it is the single most important instrument at the disposal of governments for investing in children. Government’s that “budget for children” produce budgets in which the best interests of the child permeate macroeconomic policies and are routinely scrutinised vis-a-vis their effects on children.
It entails the deliberate decision to address children’s issues in the budget – both as a process and as an outcome – ensuring that the political bargaining that typifies the budget process does not surrender the needs and rights of children who lack opportunities to voice their requirements and exert pressure on decisions. Why monitor the child-friendliness of budgets Budgeting for children is closely linked to the concept of child-friendliness as part of determining the aggregate measure of overall government commitment towards its children.
The African Child Policy Forum (ACPF) believes that budget allocations for children should be given priority attention because; If internationally recognised treaties and conventions calling for improvements in the wellbeing and rights of children are to be more than just promises, sufficient budgetary allocation needs to be given to areas that impact on children’s lives Despite improvements, Africa’s children continue to suffer from poor nutrition, inadequate health services and a lack of basic education, all of which require investment Trends or changes in budgetary allocations for children serve as proxy measures of the extent to which governments are truly committed to realising the rights of the child. Key issues for consideration
The Sudanese Expert, Dr. Babikir Mohamed Tom noted that Sudan presented reports to the UN explaining that Sudan is fulfilled great development in implementing these policies, calling for reforming technical education and distributing it fairly in all states of Sudan considering it as a future industry.
The Executive Director of Journalists for children Association Inaam Mohamed Al Tayeb pointed to the importance of investment in children and providing governmental budgets for children, raising awareness, improving and enhancing child rights in Sudan. She appreciated the efforts exerted by the National Council for Child welfare . Inaam demanded to provide friendly budgets for children, and enhancing their rights . She disclosed that children marriage reached 27,6% that means doubling.
She said that finance resources are considered an obstacle to finance children projects and their development. She pointed that private sector is not involved in child work , lack of studies to determine child needs .
UNICEF is calling on the Sudanese Government to increase its investment in children´s welfare to address significant shortfalls in healthcare and education, as part of the commemoration of the Day of the African Child and under its theme for this year: planning and budgeting for children.
“Children are vulnerable and voiceless, particularly when it comes to having access to and control over resources”, said UNICEF Representative in Sudan. “Government spending, specifically on social services, affects children directly. Children must be taken into account when public budgets are prepared”.
According to UNICEF the 2006 Sudan Health and Household Survey has revealed alarming figures on the current situation of children in Sudan. Approximately 305,000 children die every year before they reach the age of five; 26,000 mothers a year die giving birth; and around 100,000 babies die at birth or shortly after. Most of these deaths are due to preventable causes.
In education, less than 1% of the GDP was the total expenditure in 2006. While this percentage has improved slightly in recent years, it still remains significantly lower than the average for sub-Saharan Africa. Around 3.6 million children in Sudan are currently out of school, mostly due to lack of infrastructure, shortage of trained teachers and the resuming of armed conflict.
Currently, Sudan is not on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and greater investments in basic social services and capacity building are essential to accelerate sustainable progress. Actions such as implementing and enforcing the Child Protection Act of 2009, reducing child and maternal mortality, ensuring Universal Primary Education, increasing access to safe water and sanitations, require strong political commitment and financing.
“Decision-makers in the government need to seriously look into this and allocate more budgetary resources to children´s education, protection and health, including access to safe water and adequate sanitation. If Sudan does not invest more in education, health and protection for its children, the future of the country will be compromised”, UNICEF added .
The Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC) was signed by Sudan in July 1991 and ratified in September 1991. Sudan’s first periodic report to the UN committee on the rights of the child was submitted in 1993, the second in 1999 and the combined third and fourth in 2007. Sudan signed the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict in 2005 and the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography in 2004. Sudan has also ratified the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.
Journalists for Children organized a series of workshops and seminars on friendly budgets for children targeting the government and media professionals targeting localities in Khartoum and different States .
It is worth noting that Save the Children works hand in hand with Journalists for Children, the National Council for Child Welfare (NCCW) , partners and civil society organizations and civil society organizations and builds its capacity further to effectively monitor the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as well as the Child Act 2010.
They support the NCCW to establish a child rights database, monitoring system and to develop indicators to report on the fulfillment of child rights and advocate on the realization of children rights. They have also supported the Child Rights Institute (CRI) to establish a national child rights resource centre. They ‘support the NCCW to continue advocating for including the child rights in the new constitution of Sudan as well as they train and equip stakeholders to budget for children.