Children’s Rights Budgeting and Social Accountability: Children’s Views on its Purposes, Processes and Their Participation

Children’s rights budgeting is an international human rights priority and the focus of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s 2016 General Comment on Public Budgeting for the Realisation of Children’s Rights. General Comment 19 was informed by a consultation that gathered the views of 2 693 children in 71 varied national contexts across all five UN regions. The article describes the process and findings of this consultation, setting out the views of children across the world as to how their governments should make spending decisions that are sufficient, equitable, efficient, transparent and participatory. The consultation provides unique insights into how children in very different contexts think about the ways in which their governments can and do allocate public funds for children and their families in ways that support or undermine the realisation of their rights. The article identifies some of the barriers to including children in decision making on public spending, but challenges assumptions that they are not able to be or interested in being involved. It suggests that if participatory budgeting is to be effective for children, it will require bespoke forms of social accountability. Key words: children’s rights; participation; budgeting; social accountability.