Laura Ferguson, of the Program on Global Health & Human Rights, traveled to the Philippines in early November for the Asia Regional Consultation on Practical Measures of Implementation of the Child’s Right to Health.
Convened by the World Health Organization, UNICEF, Save the Children and World Vision, the meeting brought together representatives of governments, parliaments, United Nations agencies and civil society from Bangladesh, China, Indonesia and the Philippines. The attendees engaged in a mix of capacity building, discussion and country-level planning exercises.
The meeting aimed to discuss how a proposed General Comment on Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, pertaining to the child’s right to health, might help support regional and national level work in this area.
Ferguson helped design the meeting, facilitated group work sessions and presented on how the General Comment can promote implementation and accountability for the child’s right to health.
Ferguson supported the development of the General Comment, which provides an authoritative interpretation of the child’s right to health, in May 2012. If adopted by the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the General Comment will clarify roles and responsibilities with regard to realizing the child’s right to health.
“We hope the General Comment will be adopted early next year,” she said. “It will constitute a guiding document for governments and non-state actors as well as an advocacy tool for civil society to hold their governments accountable for their obligations.”
The Program on Global Health & Human Rights is collaborating with a range of partners to try and maximize the utility of the General Comment for people working in the area of child health and rights at regional, national and sub-national levels.
Building on the work carried out to date, similar regional workshops will also take place in West Africa and Central America in the coming months.