KidsRights Index 2018

Lack of child participation is global cause for concern

International children’s rights foundation KidsRights and Erasmus University Rotterdam have published the KidsRights Index 2018. The annual global ranking – issued for the sixth consecutive year – maps how countries adhere to and are equipped to improve the rights of the child. The scope and methodology of the Index are unique, as it collects data from the most reputable sources available worldwide and identifies truly global trends and insights concerning children’s rights.

By ratifying the Convention on the Rights of the Child, all 182 countries that are assessed in the 2018 KidsRghts Index have agreed to allocate their best available budget towards the rights of the child. Disappointingly, not one country in the Index lives up to this promise. A positive trend is the increased spending on children’s rights in recent years by several developing countries, including Peru, Zambia and Nepal. Peru increased the budget reserved for children and adolescents by 13% between 2013 and 2016. Marc Dullaert, founder and chairman of KidsRights: “The increased spending by these developing countries should serve as an inspiration to all nations to spend more on children’s rights. At the same time it must be recognised that corruption, the absence of a stabile child rights legislative and policy framework, as well as the lack of monitoring of funds often still prevent budget increases from achieving sustainable improvements to the daily lives of children in many countries. These issues must be resolved with priority to achieve long-term advances in such areas as health, education and child protection.”

Lack of child participation opportunities: a global cause for concern

Disappointingly, not one country in the entire Index achieved the highest score on the indicator Respecting the views of the child. 46 (out of 179) countries scored the lowest possible score on child participation, with Asia and the Pacific region performing particularly poorly. Marc Dullaert: “Promoting child participation is part of KidsRights’ core mission. We believe that children have the potential to be changemakers with the power to move the world. KidsRights therefore strongly urges countries both rich and poor to ensure that they structurally engage children and youth in decision- making processes and incorporate their views on matters that affect them directly.”

Overall ranking

Norway is 2018’s number one on children’s rights, followed by Iceland (2), Portugal (3), Spain (4), Switzerland (5), the Netherlands (6), Finland (7), Germany (8), France (9) and Slovenia (10). Worst performing countries overall in the Index are Sierra Leone (182), Afghanistan (181), Chad (180), Democratic Republic of the Congo (179), Equatorial Guinea (178), Central African Republic (177), Guinea-Bissau (176), Papua New Guinea (175), Eritrea (174) and The United Kingdom (173). Per-state performances are not measured in terms of the absolute contributions to children’s rights, but are judged on countries’ efforts relative to their socioeconomic capabilities. The United Kingdom’s extremely low ranking, for example, does not in itself indicate that children are worse off there than those who live in less wealthy countries. It does mean, however, that the UK has underperformed drastically compared to its socioeconomic standing and capabilities.

International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) and Erasmus School of Economics

ISS and Erasmus School of Economics are the most involved faculties of Erasmus University in the KidsRights Index. Karin Arts, professor of International Law and Development at ISS, is one of the co-initiators of the KidsRights Index and was also involved in the KidsRights Index 2018.

Dowload the KidsRights Index 2018 research report
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