Children from vulnerable homes and child protection agencies of the Ministry of Equity, Social Justice and Empowerment will now benefit from more equitable and sustainable domestic public finance resources, due to the recent unveiling of UNICEF’s Public Finance for Children (PF4C) programme.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has tirelessly advocated for child rights and wellbeing in different sectors across the globe from its establishment in 1946.
In 2022, after being faced with the pandemic and a global outflow of multi-sectoral social issues, UNICEF implemented the PF4C programme to influence the mobilization and allocation of resources, designed to tackle challenges in public financial management, so that all children, especially the most vulnerable, get a fair chance in life.
The training component of the PF4C programme dubbed, “Financing Social Protection and Key Social Sectors that Matter for Children,” was rolled out in May, 2022 via a virtual format and concluded with a face to face week-long session in Saint Lucia from October 17 – 21, 2022, for stakeholders in various social sectors across the region.
The UNICEF initiative promotes sensitization in effective resource management in education, nutrition, child protection and healthcare by tackling common obstacles such as low budget priority, insufficient budget allocation, ineffective expenditure, inequitable allocation and weak financial accountability brought about by limited budget transparency.
“This is exemplary of the power of regional collaboration especially in an area of paramount importance – Public Finance, which will contribute to strengthening the optimization of spending outcomes to sectors that matter most to children,” noted Nicholas Pron, UNICEF Representative for Guyana and Suriname.
He further stated, “The overarching goal of the PF4C framework is to contribute to the realization of the importance of child drives by supporting the best possible use of budgetary allocation on children oriented services.”
How and where governments allocate their funds make a huge difference to service coverage and quality in all sectors and often determines whether the most disadvantaged children are truly reached.
Director of the Division of Human Services Beverley-Ann Poyotte outlined some of the social issues that impacted children during the COVID-19 pandemic and stressed the necessity for cost effective policy commitments in budgetary allocation by policy makers.
“The internet and other facilities were an elusive thing for some of our children, especially for those who were left at home with no one to care for them and in some instances actually caring for their young siblings. There were thousands of children who became socially inept. There was also a need for social workers, educators, and specialists from other fields, all of which are required to address the needs of children. The combination of financing and the social sector is a good marriage as the rewards to be received can only come by means of cost effective and equitable ways,” remarked Poyotte.
There are approximately 193 million children in Latin America and the Caribbean today and of those 72 million between the ages of childbirth to 14 years live in poverty, with one in every 3 being identified as poor.
When children are unable to thrive, be free from violence and exploitation and live in a safe and clean environment, there is an urgent need for governments to allocate more resources and deliver more cost-effective and equitable services so as to meet their needs.
SOURCE: Ministry of Equity, Social Justice & Empowerment