General implementation measures

Once a government has ratified the UNCRC, it becomes obliged under international law to implement its provisions. General Measures of Implementation (GIM) are strategies that the UN Committee on the Rights on Rights of the Child has identified for Governments to apply ensuring that all children enjoy all the rights of the Convention.

Articles 4, 42, 44 para 6, and 41 contain these General Measures.

They cover legislation, the establishment of co-ordinating and monitoring bodies – governmental and independent – comprehensive data collection, awareness-raising and training, the monitoring of budgets and the development and implementation of appropriate policies, services and programmes.

Article 4: "States Parties shall undertake all appropriate legislative, administrative, and other measures for the implementation of the rights recognized in the present 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".

Article 42: is the obligation to make the contents of the UNCRC widely known to children and to adults.

Article 44.6: says that governments must make their reports widely available to the public.

Article 41: that governments must respect existing standards in children’s rights if they are higher than the standard set by the UNCRC

In addition the UNCRC Committee has published a General Comment on the General Measures of Implementation. This document gives more detailed guidance and strategies on the ways in which the Convention should be implemented:

Useful publication: The General Measures of the Convention on the Rights of the Child – The Process in Europe and Central Asia, UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre.

An overview of the different general measures of implementation

Law reform "Ensuring that all domestic legislation is fully compatible with the Convention and that the Convention’s principles and provisions can be directly applied and appropriately enforced is fundamental."

States parties should review national legislation and ensure that national laws are compatible with the rights set out in the UNCRC. Additionally, States are urged to review and withdraw any reservations made on Convention articles and to ratify other relevant international instruments such as the two Optional Protocols.

Useful publication: Law Reform and implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre.

Independent human rights institutions for children

The establishment of independent human rights institutions for children should not substitute, but rather be complementary to self-monitoring governmental institutions. The Committee elaborates on this issue in its General Comment No.2 on the role of independent national human rights institutions in the promotion and protection of the rights of the child.

These institutions should be geared towards promoting and safeguarding the rights of the child. Increasingly, states are establishing independent human rights institutions for children – either separate children’s ombudspeople or children’s rights commissioners, or focal points on children’s rights within general human rights commissions or ombudsman offices. In Europe, children’s institutions from twelve countries joined forces to form the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children (ENOC) in 1997. By 2007, it had grown to include 32 institutions in 23 countries. More information can be found on the ENOC website. For information on the Children's Commissioner for Wales click here and here.

National plans of action

In order to promote and protect the rights of the child at all levels, State parties need to develop a comprehensive national strategy for children based on the UNCRC. The strategy must set realistic and achievable targets and must include adequate allocation of human, financial and organisational resources.

Coordinated Government

Full implementation of the UNCRC requires effective coordination both horizontally between government agencies and departments and vertically across different government levels, from local, regional to central, but also between the government and the private sector.

Monitoring and reporting and effective data collection

Two kinds of monitoring can be distinguished: the first is the monitoring of violations; the second is monitoring the implementation of the Convention.

The Committee encourages States to use different methods for the collection of qualitative and quantitative date. These can include interviewing children directly and asking them for their opinions and views. However, it is important that data are not only collected, but also properly evaluated and the outcome used to influence policy.

Allocation of resources for children (budget analysis, etc)

States are expected to allocate a budget for children “to the maximum extent of their available resources”. Steps should be taken at all levels of Government to ensure that economic and social planning and decision-making and budgetary decisions are made with the best interests of children as a primary consideration and that children are protected from the adverse effects of economic policies or financial downturns.

Education, training and awareness-raising on the UNCRC

Awareness raising on the UNCRC should be geared towards adults and children alike. The text of the Convention should be widely available and be presented in understandable language, e.g. by publishing a child-friendly version of the UNCRC. Additionally, State reports submitted to the UN Committee should be easily and widely accessible by the general public.

As part of the process of creating awareness, children need to learn about their rights and the UNCRC. This should be incorporated into the school curriculum at all stages. Furthermore, education should extend to training and capacity building of personnel working with children. These include child psychologists, teachers, health and social workers, the police and others.

Collaboration with civil society (including children)

In its general comment no.5 the Committee says that "implementation is an obligation for States parties, but needs to engage all sectors of society, including children themselves". NGOs, the media, civil society and in particular children and young people should participate and be directly involved in the process.