Ensuring implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC) in and by Germany and with reporting to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on progress and setbacks in this implementation is the task of the Federal Government. Thus far, it has been nearly impossible to make statements about the implementation of the rights of children in Germany that are based on sound statistical data. There is an urgent need for indicators on children’s rights, which would identify what information is lacking and what types of data should be collected.
Children’s rights indicators serve the purposes of analysis and assessment of the progress associated with the implementation of specific measures taken to implement the UN CRC. A set of indicators, each a specific piece of information, is used to establish standards for the effective implementation of certain requirements. These standards can be used in the development and evaluation of policy measures. Indicators can be used to assess measures and thus determine the extent to which they are achieving or making progress towards their intended objectives.
In General Comment No. 5: General measures of implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child identifies the development of indicators and data collection as basic requirements for an effective implementation of the UN CRC. Pursuant to this, the UN CRC can and must be consulted as a normative framework for the development of children’s rights. The interpretation of the UN CRC in the light of the General Comments and the Concluding Observations issued by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and of experiences gained in connection with the state reporting procedures constitutes an important basis for the development of children’s rights indicators. In the context of the 2014 state reporting procedure, the UN committee responsible for monitoring implementation of the UN CRC called on Germany to develop specific indicators on children’s rights.
Developing and establishing indicators on children’s rights is a longer-term process. A great many interests play a role in this. Indicators are never neutral: choosing topics and developing an index always involves a balancing of various positions. For this reason, children’s rights indicators should be developed within the framework of a participative, multi-stakeholder process, or one into which stakeholders are regularly involved. The National CRC Monitoring Mechanism has launched a process aimed at developing a set of “pilot” children’s rights indicators for Germany. Two consultations have been held and an informational publication has been published in this area. Together, these constitute the underpinnings that would allow a wider process for the development of children’s rights indicators to be initiated by the Government and within civil society.