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General comments and recommendations

General comment No. 19 (2016) on public budgeting for the realization of children’s rights (art. 4)


20 July 2016

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Committee on the Rights of the Child


This general comment was informed by several United Nations resolutions and reports that set out budget principles from a human rights perspective, including:

(a) Human Rights Council resolution 28/19 aiming towards better investment in the rights of the child, and the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights that preceded the resolution, entitled “Towards better investment in the rights of the child” (A/HRC/28/33).

(b) General Assembly resolution 67/218 on promoting transparency, participation and accountability in fiscal policies.

This general comment was also informed by consultations held by the Committee with representatives of States, the United Nations, non-governmental organizations, children and individual experts through surveys, meetings and regional consultations in Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa.

In addition, the general comment was informed by a global consultation with 2,693 children from 71 countries, 3 conducted via an online survey, focus groups and regional consultations in Asia, Europe and Latin America. The consultation included contributions from boys and girls of different backgrounds in terms of age, gender, ability, socioeconomic context, language, ethnicity, school enrolment, displacement and experience of child-participatory budgeting.


Article 4 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child reads: States parties shall undertake all appropriate legislative, administrative and other measures for the implementation of the rights recognized in the Convention. With regard to economic, social and cultural rights, States parties shall undertake such measures to the maximum extent of their available resources and, where needed, within the framework of international cooperation.

This general comment will assist States parties in the implementation of article 4 in relation to public budgets. It identifies States parties’ obligations and makes recommendations on how to realize all the rights under the Convention, especially those of children in vulnerable situations, through effective, efficient, equitable, transparent and sustainable public budget decision-making.

Given that article 4 relates to all the rights of the child, and that all those rights can be affected by public budgets, the present general comment applies to the Convention and its Optional Protocols. It provides States parties with a framework to ensure that public budgets contribute to the realization of those rights, and, in section III, provides an analysis of the general principles of the Convention, contained in articles 2, 3, 6 and 12.