KidsRights Index 2018: insufficient budget for children’s rights

Lack of child participation is global cause for concern

Amsterdam, 12 June 2018 - International children’s rights foundation KidsRights and Erasmus University Rotterdam today published the KidsRights Index 2018. The annual global ranking – issued for the sixth consecutive year – maps how countries adhere to and are equipped to improve the rights of the child. The scope and methodology of the Index are unique, as it collects data from the most reputable sources available worldwide and identifies truly global trends and insights concerning children’s rights.

All 182 countries that have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child have agreed to allocate their best available budget towards the rights of the child. Disappointingly, not one country in the Index lives up to this promise. A positive trend is the increased spending on children’s rights in recent years by several developing countries, including Peru, Zambia and Nepal. Peru increased the budget reserved for children and adolescents by 13% between 2013 and 2016.

Marc Dullaert, founder and chairman of KidsRights: “The increased spending by these developing countries should serve as an inspiration to all nations to spend more on children’s rights. At the same time it must be recognised that  corruption, the absence of a stabile child rights legislative and policy framework, as well as the lack of monitoring of funds often still prevent budget increases from achieving sustainable improvements to the daily lives of children in many countries. These issues must be resolved with priority to achieve long-term advances in such areas as health, education and child protection.”

Lack of child participation opportunities: a global cause for concern

Disappointingly, not one country in the entire Index achieved the highest score on the indicator Respecting the views of the child. 46 (out of 179) countries scored the lowest possible score on child participation, with Asia and the Pacific region performing particularly poorly. Marc Dullaert: “Promoting child participation is part of KidsRights’ core mission. We believe that children have the potential to be changemakers with the power to move the world. KidsRights therefore strongly urges countries both rich and poor to ensure that they structurally engage children and youth in decision-making processes and incorporate their views on matters that affect them directly.”

Overall ranking

Norway is 2018’s number one on children’s rights, followed by Iceland (2), Portugal (3), Spain (4), Switzerland (5), the Netherlands (6), Finland (7), Germany (8), France (9) and Slovenia (10). Worst performing countries overall in the Index are Sierra Leone (182), Afghanistan (181), Chad (180), Democratic Republic of the Congo (179), Equatorial Guinea (178), Central African Republic (177), Guinea-Bissau (176), Papua New Guinea (175), Eritrea (174) and The United Kingdom (173).

Per-state performances are not measured in terms of the absolute contributions to children’s rights, but are judged on countries’ efforts relative to their socioeconomic capabilities. The United Kingdom’s extremely low ranking, for example, does not in itself indicate that children are worse off there than those who live in less wealthy countries. It does mean, however, that the UK has underperformed drastically compared to its socioeconomic standing and capabilities.

End of press release


The KidsRights Index: why it matters

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child has been ratified by all the world’s nations except one: The United States of America. Its adoption in 1989 marked a crucial step in improving children’s rights across the globe. However, there is still a considerable gap between the good intentions of policymakers and the actual effects policy has on the everyday lives of children. The KidsRights Index is the tool to uncover said gaps, chart the performances of countries and identify themes and trends in the children’s rights arena. Its significance is arguably greater than ever, given the rise of political unrest and war in many regions. Geopolitical instability, e.g. civil war in the Middle East, will inevitably adversely impact the way our planet treats its youngest generation. The KidsRights Index serves as the watchdog that keeps track of how humanity is promoting or failing the rights of the child.

Further information about the KidsRights Index

The KidsRights Index is the annual global index published by the KidsRights Foundation which charts how countries adhere to and are equipped to improve children’s rights. The KidsRights Index is an initiative of the KidsRights Foundation, in cooperation with Erasmus University Rotterdam: Erasmus School of Economics and the International Institute of Social Studies. It is a ranking of all states that have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child for which sufficient data is available, a total of 182 countries in 2018.

The Index pools data from three reputable sources: 1. quantitative data published and regularly updated by UNICEF at and 2. UNDP at and 3. qualitative data published by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in its Concluding Observations for all states that are legally bound by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The KidsRights Index’s overall ranking and additional information, including a trend report of the rankings on the individual domains and other available information, are available at

About the KidsRights Foundation

KidsRights is an international non-governmental organization that promotes the wellbeing of very vulnerable children across the world and advocates the realization of their rights. KidsRights strives for a world where all children have access to their rights and are enabled to realize the great potential they carry within them. KidsRights sees children as changemakers with the power to move the world, and facilitates in voicing their opinions and taking action in order to bring about change.

KidsRights supports children by commanding global attention for the realization of children’s rights and acting as a catalyst to ignite change, together with children and youths. We support this with research and action. In order to gain insight into the status of children’s rights, KidsRights frequently conducts research. The foundation also finances local projects aimed at directly improving the rights of vulnerable children and stimulating child participation and change-making by youths. Please visit our website to find out more about KidsRights:

About Erasmus School of Economics and the International Institute of Social Studies

Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) is a leading centre for scientific research and education. As an internationally acclaimed institute, Erasmus School of Economics contributes to future economic developments and to answering issues related to government and business policy. For further information see:

The International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) is an international graduate school of critical policy-oriented social science. ISS staff does research, teaching and public service in the field of development studies and international cooperation. The ISS is part of Erasmus University Rotterdam, but is based in The Hague. Further details are available at:

Additional information for media (not for publication)

All available press materials, including a summary report of the KidsRights Index and more information about its methodology are accessible via the KidsRights News Room:

Please address interview requests or other media inquiries to KidsRights’ media relations officer:

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