UNICEF aims to drive change directed at social inclusion and equity by building an enabling policy environment for social change and development.
To ensure this, UNICEF provides technical support to the Parliamentarians Group for Children (PGC) that constitutes Members of Parliament (MP) and Members of Legislative Assembly (MLA). MPs and MLAs can help address and solve children’s issues through coordinated and concerted efforts, leveraging technical, political, financial, and human resources to achieve greater results for children.
They can help:
-Champion children’s issues on the floor of the Parliament to increase focus on issues such as child abuse, rising anaemia
-Push for greater budget allocation
-Ensure inclusion of core child rights principles (enshrined in UNCRC) in every policy document and programme
-Highlight responsibility of every state-actor, public machinery and community to mobilise positive action towards implementation of national policy for children
-Raise questions in Parliament to review and monitor implementation of policies related to children, especially in states that are far from meeting MDG targets
-Address children’s issues at every public forum
-Promote children and youth as change agents by linking them with governance structures such as panchayats and the assembly
Parliamentarians Group for Children
In August 2013, the Parliamentarians Group for Children (PGC) was launched in India with the primary vision of championing issues of children’s rights on the floor of the Parliament.
As leaders of constituencies, representatives of different political parties, and Members of Parliament (MP), members of PGC recognised the need for change in the perspective of viewing and making laws and policies in India. In lieu of this, members of the PGC has been engaging with people’s representatives at all levels of governance – national, state and constituency levels, including the panchayati raj institutions (PRIs). Currently, the group has an active membership of 33 MPs and MLAs (and is growing).
As leaders, lawmakers and custodians of citizen’s trust, parliamentarians recognize and understand that they can play an effective role in accelerating progress towards meeting the current development targets.
But the parliament is composed of a range of people with a variety of backgrounds and interests. In order to understand and grapple with issues of child rights,
UNICEF India was invited by the PGC as a technical partner to help members get access to specialist knowledge and advice, practical experiences and learnings from best practices from across the globe.
In the past year, the PGC has taken some significant strides - organized three regional meetings that have motivated members across parties to take up initiatives for children in their constituencies and states. Some of the initiatives include:
-The PGC convener, Rajya Sabha MP Vandana Chavan recently organized the Pune Consultation on Sanitation and Open Defecation with municipal corporators (representing different districts of Maharashtra) and legislators, which was endorsed by the Minister of Public Health of Maharashtra
-Rajya Sabha MP, Jaya Bachchan advocacy on the issue of child survival in her constituency (disseminated IEC material on child survival provided by UNICEF)
-Formation of the Legislators Group for Children (LGC) in Odisha has been proposed, following a meeting of legislators on MDGs
The PGC aims to make children the foremost agenda for all political parties and their representatives – and they work towards this aim, collectively with governments, civil society, media and other experts.