GlobalChild: Platform to Monitor Children's Rights

Andrea Woo, writing in the Globe and Mail on August 25, 2016, interviewed Dr. Ziba Vaghri, an expert on child development at UVic’s School of Public Health and Social Policy, who will lead an international team in developing GlobalChild, an electronic platform that aims to a standard of reporting for all countries on their compliance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. GlobalChild will comprise performance indicator sets for each treaty right, and each of those sets will contain various questions states must answer. Concerning the right to play, for example, states may be asked: Are there policies in place to allow children time away from school and daycare to play? What programs and initiatives have been enacted to facilitate a child’s right to play? Are there adequate parks and playgrounds? What impact have these commitments had on children?

The platform aims to increase accountability through detailed, measurable reporting, Dr. Vaghri said. The tool will be adapted to different communities; for indigenous communities, the platform may include an enhanced focus on connection to culture and relationship with land, for example.

Despite the fact that 196 countries globally have signed the 1989 convention, which requires governments to establish goals, laws and policies to uphold the health, social, economic and cultural rights of the child, compliance has been an ongoing issue.  The countries that have fared best to date, reports Dr. Vaghri, are those that incorporated the convention into their legal systems.

The project team, involving seven Canadian and four international universities, plans to launch the project in Canada in 2021, with the goal of it eventually becoming a global reporting tool.



News & UpdatesMonica Gault