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Children and Poverty: Global Trends, Local Solutions?
Recent Economic, Political, Demographic and Cultural Trends Affecting Child Rights


New School University

17 December 2004

Contact: komarecm@newschool.edu

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UNICEF and the Graduate Program in International Affairs (GPIA) plan to hold an international conference April 25 through 27, 2005 on poverty in the global context and its effects on girls and boys.

The conference in April 2005 will present analytical and policy papers that explore issues and trends related to children living in poverty by examining the concepts and measurements of poverty, as well as the actions needed to secure a protective, harmonious and stimulating environment for family upbringing. The conference will use as its platform the discussion launched by the 2005 State of the World’s Children report. The Conference will also reflect the agenda set by the Millennium Development Goals and the Convention of the Rights of a Child (CRC). The planning and management of the Conference will be conducted by the GPIA. UNICEF will provide the grant money for the conference and participate in the Advisory Panel (see below).

The Conference General Objectives:

  • To increase knowledge and promote debate on girls and boys living in poverty and global, regional and local forces affecting families.

  • To highlight current trends and successful policies for child poverty reduction and how this has influenced the rights of girls and boys.

  • To initiate further research in generating, compiling and analyzing trends in sex disaggregated indicators of child well-being and to draw out the implications for programs and policies of such information.

  • To increase knowledge on how poverty is differentiated by gender within families and communities.

  • To point to new directions in analysis and knowledge management, so that available data on the well-being of girls and boys can be successfully used to influence governments and other stakeholders working for and with children.
The Conference Specific Objectives

  1. The call for analytical and policy papers on issues and trends related to children living in poverty is focused on the following subject areas:


    • Definition of children living in poverty and its measurement

    • Children living in poverty and Human Rights

    • The role and potential of Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers in addressing girls and boys poverty

    • How children experience poverty

    • Social exclusion, gender discrimination and nonmaterial aspects of child poverty

    • Evidence of the reduction of child poverty

    • Armed conflict and poverty

    • HIV/AIDS and poverty

    • Policy responses to child poverty


  2. We welcome papers with an inter-disciplinary and cross-thematic approach aiming to integrate a gender and Human Rights perspective throughout the analysis. This will help the understanding the complex relationships among cultural, demographic, economic and political trends and their impact on girls and boys, families, communities, and children living in specific situations (e.g. orphans, handicapped, indigenous, minority, refugee, etc.). Based on the empirical information, the papers should address at least one of the three following dimensions :


    1. Conceptual and Methodological Issues
    2. – Since the way poverty is defined determines the range and focus of policy interventions, the concept and measurement of children living in poverty should be at the center of the debates about methodological issues.

      The papers should examine issues related to poverty measurement, statistical information, and capacity building. Researchers are encouraged to consider answering some of the following questions: How is children’s experience of poverty different from that of adults? Is there any difference in how girls and boys experience poverty? How well are the poverty measures capturing children’s and women’s poverty? What are the ways/methodologies that capture this experience? How well are development/poverty indices, (e.g. HDI) representing child well-being? How can advancements in methodology, advocacy and policy work enhance the understanding of how poverty affects girls and boys, including the debate about the Millennium Development Goals?


    3. Understanding the Determinants of Children’s and Women’s Well-being
    4. - What are the key determinants of poverty among children?

      The papers should look at the underlying causes of poverty and cross-relationship of the determinants of poverty among girls and boys, and attempt to answer questions such as: How are changes in public expenditure affecting children’s health, education and welfare? What is the connection between armed conflict and migration, and what are the effects on girls, boys, women, men and family well-being? What is the impact of migrant labor remittances and family separation on children’s well-being? How are trade liberalization and capital flows affecting child labor, child poverty and health? How are certain aspects of globalization such as internationalization of certain cultural values, consumption patterns and entertainment affecting children’s well-being? To what extent are changes in family size, structure and stability affecting child well-being? What are the links between recessionary adjustment policies, risk coping strategies and gender differentiated impact on HIV-AIDS transmission?


    5. Effective Policies and Programs for Women and Child Well-being Based on Human Rights
    6. – The discussion about the effective and viable policies for reducing poverty among children is the key dimension of the conference.

      Guided by an equitable and ‘age-sensitive’ approach to policy, the papers in this section can entertain some of the following questions: What are the examples of successful policies for reducing the effects of poverty among children? What are the lessons learned from present policies (including both successful and failed examples)? What are the lessons learned from PRSPs and children living in poverty? How to prevent the negative trends among children suffering from poverty? What are the entry points where intergenerational transmissions of poverty can be affected by external influence? What are the examples of childcare and family policies catering to growing immigrant populations in medium and high-income countries? How is technological progress being used to enhance child and family well-being (e.g. food and biotechnology interventions; possible links between information, communication and distance learning; the role of private investment in biotechnology research).

Advisory Panel

An Advisory Panel will make the selection of papers for the Conference. The AP will be composed of members of UNICEF, GPIA, and external recognized experts. Its function will be to ensure the orientation and quality of papers and advise on the content and organization of the Conference.


Calendar of Events

A one-page proposal should be sent to Marina Komarecki, Graduate Program in International Affairs, New School University, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10011, by e-mail at komarecm@newschool.edu by February 1, 2005.

Papers will be selected by February 15, 2005.

The deadline for final paper submission is April 15, 2005. Limited funds will be available for travel expenses and subsistence for three days.

The Conference will be held April 25 through 27, 2005 in New York.

The organizers plan to post the papers presented at the Conference on the GPIA web site, and widely disseminate a CD ROM of selected papers.




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