Civil Society demands increased Budgetary Allocation to improve Children’s Rights in Punjab.

During a media briefing at Lahore, Child Rights Movement Punjab and SPARC representatives shared that protecting child rights is the immediate need of the time.

Mr. Naeem Ahmad, Program Coordinator / Incharge, SPARC said that major infrastructural reforms are required to uplift the living standard of Pakistan’s children. Whether it’s health and nutrition, hazardous labor, early marriages, trafficking, sexual abuse and exploitation; significant reforms are required to ensure that rights of all children are protected and delivered.

He further added that approximately 47% of Pakistan’s total population comprises of children under the age of 18. This population group should be our priority however, due to lack of will from policymakers; these children are deprived of their rights to survival, protection and development. He mentioned low spending on child rights as a key reason for Pakistan not meeting its international and national commitments towards child rights.

Mr.Waqas Abid (Advocate), Spokesperson, CRM Punjab, alluded to Pakistan’s low ranking in some major global human development indexes. In 2019, Pakistan ranked 152nd out of 189th in Human Development Index, 151st out of 153rd in Global Gender Gap Index, 149th out of 176th in The Kids Rights Index and 147th out of 182nd in Global Childhood Report. He mentioned that there’s a direct relationship between the low spending and this low ranking. For example, Pakistan has the lowest budget allocation for education in South Asia and hence it also has 44% of total children out of school which is the second highest number in the world after Nigeria.

He highlighted inadequate spending as a key reason for Pakistan failing on most of the child related indicators of Millennium Development Goals. He raised concern that unless adequate budget is allocated for child rights, Pakistan will fail to meet the requirements of Sustainable Development Goals as well.

He further added that the federal and provincial government must ensure that budgets for all children related indicators are released in time and are not subjected to random cuts. Budget allocations should also include a higher proportion of non-salaried rather than salaried expenditure and there should be increased focus on development budget in order to overcome the challenges in Pakistan. In addition, all the programming must respond to the damage caused by COVID-19 pandemic.

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