Universal Children's Day

November 20, 2012

In celebration of Universal Children's Day 2012, the Human Early Learning Partnership at the University of British Columbia, along with our national and international partners, is pleased to announce the launch of a new website on implementing child rights globally.

This website introduces new survey tools the purpose of which is to assist States parties in monitoring advances made in implementing child rights in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

In the spirit of marking Universal Children's Day we hope your visit to the website leads to a renewed commitment on the part of all duty bearers to respect and protect the rights of children, everywhere.

What is the UNCRC?

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is a universal safeguarding system that was adopted in 1989. The Convention is the most widely agreed upon international human rights document in the world, with 196 signatory countries. It provides a comprehensive framework that can protect and fulfill the rights of young children. The Convention's monitoring body is the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The Committee oversees a system of regular State reporting and provides guidance in the form of "Concluding Observations" where accomplishments are noted, areas of improvements are outlined, and recommendations are made. The Convention defines a child as a person less than 18 years of age and outlines their rights through 54 articles. Articles are based on the 4 main guiding principles of the CRC:

  • Non-discrimination
  • Best interests of the child
  • The rights to life and development
  • Child Participation

In September 2006, the UNCRC proposed to develop early childhood rights indicators to improve State party reporting on the realisation of children's rights in the early years. Since then, the Committee and a host of expert organisations have been working together to develop early childhood indicators. These organisations include the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Bernard van Leer Foundation (BvLF), the Aga Khan Foundation, the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP), the Consultative Group on Early Childhood Care and Development, the International Children's Center (ICC), and the SOS-Kinderdõrfer. During their tenure at UBC (2006-2014), Drs Clyde Hertzman and Ziba Vaghri took the role of leading this expert group, called the General Comment No. 7 Indicators Group (GC7 Indicators Group). The Group presented a final draft of the Early Childhood Rights Indicators Framework to the UNCRC on 19 May 2008. The Committee welcomed the work of the Group, recommending that "a set of broadly applicable indicators regarding the implementation of rights of young children [become] available." In her letter addressed to the Group dated 20 July 2008, the chairperson of the Committee at that time, Dr Yanghee Lee, further suggested that "the next steps have to be pilot studies in order to test and revise the list of indicators if necessary."

In the same letter, the Committee Chairperson acknowledged that "the outcome [of these pilot studies] will be an essential component of the Committee's efforts to consolidate and strengthen the database for child rights implementation." Therefore, the group started preparing a manual to pilot the Indicators Framework in a few countries. This website is the product of collaborative work by an international group of experts with years of research and field experience. See the About Us page for biographies of the GC7 Indicators Group.

How to cite our research: GlobalChild Program of Research (2012). Early Childhood Rights Indicators (ECRI). University of Victoria, Link.