World Vision and ChildPact have launched the Child Protection Index in Brussels. This tool serves to prevent and end violence, child trafficking, child labour, discrimination and other violations of a child’s rights. The CPI makes use of 600 indicators drawn from child protection language in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
“The Index verifies needs and gaps in protection systems. It is often hard for governments, civil society and donors alike to decide on priorities or next steps. This product offers a way for CP actors to identify what steps should be taken next. Lack of reforms means we keep on hearing stories of children who live needlessly through the kinds of traumatic and dangerous situations that we would never allow our own children to endure. We don’t want to hear of these stories anymore”, - says Conny Lenneberg, Regional Leader for World Vision Middle East Eastern Europe Region.
Nine countries in South East Europe and South Caucasus were covered under the Child Protection Index pilot project – Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Georgia, Kosovo, Moldova, Romania, and Serbia.
Local civil society coalitions in these nine countries prioritized the creation of the Index in order to increase their government accountability and to support reforms aimed at ensuring that children are effectively protected from all forms of violence.
With the Index we seek to help unite various sectors and actors under shared principles and increase collaboration, and also identify gaps between policy and practice by documenting facts on the ground.
This is a comparative policy tool, which measures a country’s current child protection system against a common set of indicators.
We are thrilled to launch this civil society initiative in Brussels. We hope the EU and its Member States will hear our call and support such project which could have tremendous potential if scaled up.
All participating countries are official signatories to the Convention, which means that governments have already formally committed to implement UNCRC reforms. As a comprehensive document on the interface between policy and practice, the CPI can be used at any time to hold governments accountable for their commitments and actions.
“We also hope that the Index will allow for a new level of engagement between child protection experts in civil society, citizens, donors and government policy makers in countries throughout the region in years to come”, - says Mirela Oprea, ChildPact Secretary General and Acting Advocacy Director for World Vision Middle East Eastern Europe Region.
The CPI will be updated regularly, with each new iteration of the Index highlighting if key reforms have been introduced, or if on the contrary the reform process of the child protection system in the countries of the region is stagnating, or even backtracking.
We are committed to make every effort to follow up on the CPI and be a driving force for reforms that will change the lives of hundreds of thousands of girls and boys across our region and potentially more.
A number of bilateral and multilateral donors and foundations have supported the project so far, including Australia’s DFAT, Romanian AID, UNDP Regional Bureau for Europe and Central Asia, BMZ (Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development) and the Oak Foundation.
Cover photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images