Experts call for investment in children to secure country’s bright future

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KARACHI (Press Release): The Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) with the support of Save the Children Pakistan organized media briefing on impact of budgetary allocation on child rights.

Ms. Raheela Masroor, District Coordinator for Curriculum, Karachi Central, cited low spending on child rights as a key reason for Pakistan not meeting its international and national commitments towards child rights. She stated 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 has the second highest number of out of school children in the world. Similarly, child labor, child marriages, sexual and physical violence, are on the rise because of insufficient spending on monitoring and punishment mechanisms.

Raheela Masroor expressed that that COVID-19 pandemic has affected children the most. The repeated lockdowns have derailed access to Education, Health, Nutrition, and cause a significant rise in Child labor and domestic abuse. If the policy makers do not consider this reality in resource allocation for Child Rights, the very survival of our children will be at stake.

Ms. Shumaila Muzammil, Project Manager, SPARC, shared that in order to safeguard our children, the resource allocation for child rights must be smooth, regular and shouldn’t be not happen in the last quarter of the year or reallocated to other departments. Federal and provincial governments must ensure that expenditure reports are available to public for review and discussion. In the longer run, government needs to implement UNICEF’s suggestion of categorizing ‘Children’ as a separate head in the budget. This will result in concrete monitoring and evaluation of state’s spending on children which is difficult at the moment as child related amounts are scattered in several categories.

On the occasion, Kashif Mirza and Haris Jadoon from SPARC also addressed the event.