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The views expressed in this presentation are the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the

views or policies of the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI), the

Asian Development Bank (ADB), its Board of Directors, or the governments they represent. ADBI does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this paper and
accepts no responsibility for any consequences of their use. Terminology used may not necessarily be consistent with ADB official terms.

Investment in Children in the Pursuit of

Jun Fan, Regional Social Policy Specialist, UNICEF EAPRO

ADBI and ESCAP Workshop on

Fiscal Governance for Sustainable Growth and Development in Asia and Pacific Region

Bangkok, 25 April 2018

High return of investment in early years

Source: Heckman,

Source: Heckman 2007

Child interventions are highly cost-effective: example of nutrition

Cost-effectiveness ratios for selected nutrition interventions (USD per

DALY saved, global estimates)
Community nutrition programmes for behaviour change
Vitamin A supplements
Therapeutic zinc supplements
Micronutrient powders (zinc)
Iron-folic acid supplements
Community-based management of acute malnutrition
Source: Horton et al, Scaling Up Nutrition, What Will It Cost? World Bank, 2010
Child interventions are highly cost-efficient: example of nutrition

Micronutrient powders Benefit-cost ratios

and salt iodization 45 37 38 39
have benefits that
30 24
are > 30 times 20
15 8 7
greater than their 10
costs 0

powders (iron)

Iron fortification


Salt iodization


The BCR for the Lancet

of staples
package as a whole is
also very high (e.g.
24:1 in Ethiopia)

Individual interventions Lancet package as a

(global) whole
Sources: Horton et al, Scaling Up Nutrition, What Will It
Cost? World Bank, 2010; Hoddinott et al, Copenhagen
Consensus, 2012
Tackles poverty and inequality Goals 1, 10

Childhood Investment and the SDGs

Strengthens food security and nutrition Goal 2
Improves health and cognitive
development Goals 3, 9
Strengthens education outcomes Goal 4
Promotes gender equality Goal 5
Household-level environmental
management Goals 6, 13
Strengthens social inclusion and cohesion Goals 11, 16
Fosters inclusive growth, decent work and
more productive employment
Goal 8
Improves macroeconomic resilience Goal 12
Development partnerships Goal 17
How does UNICEF engage in budget advocacy for children in relation to SDGs

Support evidence generation to Engage in budget processes to

advocate for greater and better influence and support
public investments in children allocation decisions and
and inform sector reforms improve spending performance

Support domestic revenue

Empower citizens, and mobilization and facilitate
communities to track spending service providers’ access to
and participate in national/local credit to expand domestic
budgeting processes financing of services and
UNICEF China: translating evidence to public expenditure for children with MOF

Study on cost of orphan’s allowance 500-600% budget increase

Study on equitable allocations to Substantial funding increase

MCH and primary health nationally in MCH

Study on efficiency and effectiveness Relocation of funds from

of street children centers infrastructure to child protection
Study on affordability & sustainability Inclusion of child services in national
of basic public services with NDRC plan for provision of basic essential
UNICEF Myanmar: strengthening social budgets by linking inputs to outcomes and

Introduction of social cash transfers (universal MNCH program); expansion of social work case management

- Evidence to link
- Very low social sector
sector budget budgets to child - 14,000 beneficiaries
allocation deprivation Three-fold by 2018
- Policy advocacy increase - 26 more townships
- Weak with a range of in budget covered under case
capacity of stakeholders allocations to management
social welfare social
- TA to Ministry of
ministry to protection,
social welfare
child protection Improved funding and
plan and (budget submission,
programs effectiveness of
spend funds sector PFM capacity,
spending on social
effectively expenditure
tracking tool)
Public Finance for Children in Cambodia
Early stage of engagement (2012) Solid partnership to achieve results for
• Research on social budgeting in collaboration with children (2016 - Present)
Cambodia National Council for Children (CNCC) • UNICEF positioned as key partner for PFM
Formalization of partnership (2013- 2014) reform (programme-based budgeting)
• UNICEF and MEF signed a partnership agreement
covering the key areas of collaborations:
• UNICEF expertise in thematic areas
o Capacity building of MEF and line ministries for
(health, nutrition, etc.) and MEF’s trust in
implementation of programme-based
UNICEF resulted in increased budget
budgeting to link child-sensitive policies and
allocation for children
budget • Sector specific PFM support (education
o Policy and budget analysis and research sector) resulted in leveraging donor
• Training on programme-based budgeting for MEF funding (EU) for education e.g. school
and line ministries operating budget allocation formula
o This complemented WB support for Financial • Steady increase of education budget,
Management Information System development particularly on programs to address equity
• Training on results-based management for MEF, (current budget)
MoP and line ministries
• PM’s commitment to roll out a cash
o Based on WB assessment on PB transfer program for children and pregnant
implementation, identifying RBM capacity as mothers nationwide by mid-2019
key bottleneck

Budget Planning is Only 0.05% Budget/Total Advocate BOB to Focus on “Children” Child-related programs
Centralized and focus on for ECD Introduce MTEF/LTEF on using Integrated Plan receive greater and
growth consistent budget
ECD based on RBM budgeting under RBM.

Budget Planning is Low Capacity for Line

Increase fiscal space will
Agencies to Plan in
too short (1 year) for Capacity Building for bring in private for
Integrated Plan Strengthening innovative financing for
evaluation Budgeting MOE for Provincial Children
ECD integrated plan Result Based
ECD Integrated and MTEF/LTEF Evaluation System
budget ECD
with OPDC
Provincial ECD programs
are affectively and
efficiently implemented for
Budget remains Plan
Line Item based Seek Ownership from and
and not result Partnership with BOB OPDC
based in practice NESDB MOE

*** From OPM/UNICEF 2017 study on “Equity in PFM Systems: A Case Study of Thailand”
Thank you