On Thursday 22nd September, General Comment No. 19 of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child on public budgeting for the realization of children’s rights was officially launched in Geneva (Switzerland). The event, celebrated parallel to the 73rd session of the Committee, was organized by the Child Rights Connect network, of which the IJJO is a member.
The primary objective of this General Comment is to improve the understanding of the obligations derived from the Convention on the Rights of the Child in relation to public expenditure in favour of these rights. It provides recommendations for the way in which public spending is planned, promulgated, implemented and monitored, with the aim of implementing the Convention and its Protocols.
The General Comment identifies a number of obligations that States must assume, in order to ensure that public spending is effective, efficient and equitable, and respects, promotes, protects and fulfils the rights of children:
- Assess the macroeconomic, fiscal and children's rights situation; consider laws, policies, taxes and budget relating to children; mobilize resources and formulate budgets.
- Provide a favourable environment for the legislature to monitor and enact public budgets, including the parts that directly and indirectly affect the rights of children.
- Run budgets, ensuring that funds reach the needed recipients, while reporting on actual expenditures.
- Report, evaluate and audit budgets.
- Promote favourable conditions for civil servants and civil society, including children, to participate in a meaningful way the budgetary process, including its monitoring, encouraging transparent and accountable public financial systems.
The IJJO addressed the issue of public spending related to the rights of children, particularly in the area of juvenile justice, in the publication 'Save Money, Protect Society and Realise Youth Potential: Improving Youth Justice Systems during a Time of Economic Crisis', conducted by the European Council of Juvenile Justice. In this publication, recommendations and best practices are offered to governments for a more efficient management of public expenditure in the juvenile justice systems. It also calls for sufficient budgets to be allocated for the proper development and improvement of these systems.