Measuring compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Margo Greenwood, Vice President of Aboriginal Health, is a co-investigator on a project based at the University of Victoria. The project is developing an electronic reporting system called GlobalChild. It will help to measure how well each country is complying with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Canada played a key role in developing and promoting the 1989 Convention, which requires governments to protect the health, social, economic and cultural rights of children. The Convention contains 54 items such as standard of living, education, parental responsibilities, and protection from violence. Globally, 196 countries have signed, but compliance has long been an issue. Despite the requirement for countries to submit reports every five years, many do not. As well, reports are sometimes limited in scope and lack detail. 

GlobalChild will include measurements for each right that children have. Each measurement will contain various questions that countries will answer. For example, questions about the right to play might include: 

  • Are there policies in place to allow children time away from school and daycare to play? 
  • What programs and initiatives are in place to support a child’s right to play? 
  • Are there adequate parks and playgrounds? 
  • What impact have these commitments had on children?

Margo is supporting the focus on Indigenous children. She is working with the research team to develop a framework for measuring Indigenous child health. Indigenous children in Canada remain “significantly under-served” by health care services. They are also at greater risk than other Canadian children for health problems.

The project is funded in part by a $1.1 million award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The team aims to launch the project in Canada in 2021, with the goal of it becoming a global reporting tool in the future.

For more information, read recent media coverage in the Prince George Citizen and the Globe and Mail and a news article from UVic.