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THE FOCAL POINT PROGRAMME

Against child sexual abuse, violence and exploitation

HOW IT BEGAN

The Focal Point Programme (FPP) is one of the two programmes of the NGO Group for the CRC and was created by the Co-organisers of the Stockholm World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children - the Government of Sweden, UNICEF, the NGO Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Ecpat - to facilitate the co-ordination of global action to combat child sexual abuse, exploitation and violence. Its scope was intended to be broader than that of the Congress in order to better address the root causes.

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WHAT IT DOES

The Programme's innovative structure brings intergovernmental organisations and Regional governmental bodies together with international, regional and local NGOs in order to facilitate new and broader partnerships. The Focal Point Programme’s great strength is its ability to network with and share information with this extensive range of players. It has been increasingly addressing the need for networking and strategic planning at all levels in an attempt to minimise duplication of efforts and competition among all actors.

Example of good practices

One of the FPP projects was included in the 2002 ILO publication Child trafficking and action to eliminate it as an example of effective practice 
A pilot project, the first stage of a global initiative, aimed to identify "who is doing what" against SEC. The survey carried out with UNICEF support, covered eight countries in Central and Eastern Europe and was based on an identified need to promote further reliable and systematic exchanges in a region where development of an active and credible civil society is a new concept but where there is a great deal of expertise.
 Says the ILO:
The methodological approach of building groups of reliable and appropriate correspondents in each country, rather than appointing an external researcher to undertake field missions was extremely successful. Not only did this provide grassroots on-the-spot information, it began to forge a real 'team' of people who would stay in touch with each other and also provide a potential network for future mapping or collaborative work

 

THE FRAMEWORK

Through its wide multidisciplinary networks and international mechanisms, the FPP monitors the implementation of international and regional instruments, guidelines and resolutions:

the Convention on the Rights of the child and the Agenda for Action adopted by the World Congress held in Stockholm in 1996;
the Optional protocol on sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography;
regional outcomes of the Second World Congress held in Yokohama in 2001and the Global Commitment issued by this Congress;
the Protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children, supplementing the UN Convention against transnational organised crime;
ILO Convention 182 and Recommendation 190 on the Worst forms of child labour and recommendation;
Other relevant international and regional resolutions (i.e. from the Commission on Human Rights) and instruments.

In essence, the FPP function as a two-way conveyor belt ensuring a coherent and action-oriented exchange of information to and from the international level and national/regional levels.

Further, it facilitates collaboration between international NGOs, IGOs and regional/national partners.

This has been clearly demonstrated in the preparation of two world events against sexual exploitation which governments, international governmental agencies and civil society planned and carried out successfully on an equal partnership footing.








THE STRUCTURE

The Programme is composed of two main groupings that provide substantive input: from concerned stakeholders as wide ranging as possible: an Advisory Panel and a network of Regional Facilitators.As a Programme of the NGO Group for the CRC, the FPP is accountable to the NGO Group Co-ordinating Committee.

A small Management Team made up, for practical reasons, of four Geneva-based members of the Co-ordinating Committee support the Programme Co-ordinator on day -to day management issues.

The Advisory Panel 

The Advisory Panel brings together a broad range of players to advise the Programme: non-governmental organisations (NGOs), including members of the NGO Group and the Programme’s Regional Facilitators; academia; professional associations; individual experts; UN agencies (UNICEF, ILO/IPEC, UNHCHR, UNHCR UNAIDS, WHO, IOM); governments; members of the private sector, and wide-ranging multidisciplinary networks.

Other participants may also be invited based on the focus of the particular discussions.
The specific objectives of the Advisory Panel include exchanging information; co-ordinating strategies and actions of partners to minimise duplication and improve cost-effectiveness and sustainability; providing support to international monitoring mechanisms and instruments, and helping to identify resources necessary for the collaborative functioning and activities of the FPP Programme.
The Advisory panel meets twice a year, once in Geneva to establish work plans at international and regional level, and once in a designated region to review progress, identify needed action relevant to the region priorities, and enhance inter-regional collaboration.
In addition to reviewing the overall direction of the Programme, the Advisory Panel assists in planning other major relevant regional or international events.

A network of Regional and Sub-Regional Facilitators

In order to inform international monitoring mechanisms more coherently, the Focal Point in Geneva (FP-Geneva) has developed a network of Regional and Sub- Regional Facilitators to facilitate the co-ordination of monitoring efforts and information dissemination directly with local work to combat child sexual abuse, exploitation and violence.

WHO ARE THEY?

In some regions there are sub-regional and national organisations who work out among themselves how to co-ordinate their work and feed back information into the FPP.
In other areas, for practical purposes, they are resource persons or experts with direct links to national and grassroots organisations.
Some, as in Latin America, are inter-governmental bodies with strong ties with the NGO community.
All are committed to collaborating with all relevant stakeholders in their area: governments, IGOs, academia, professionals, the private sector as well as grassroots partners.

HOW THEY WORK

All contribute to the Programme’s information sharing, i.e.: linking FP-Geneva to regional networks;
All provide (directly or indirectly) information to the international monitoring mechanisms through the FP-Geneva to supplement the NGO alternative reports to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child which monitors government implementation of the CRC and of the Stockholm Agenda for Action. They also provide much needed first-hand data for the establishment of regional rosters of resources, expertise and best practices.
After 2001, they will increasingly focus more on regional action, and will monitor the implementation of the Yokohama Congress regional outcomes and its Global Commitment as the newly adopted Optional Protocol on sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. They will also lobby for the ratification of the protocol on trafficking in persons and new regional instruments. One of their tasks will be to ensure that their own national legislation is aligned on international standards.
Some work within a geographical region but in some cases cut across border to collaborate based socio-cultural specificities.
Regional Facilitators also assist in regional/national network -building, and strive to develop strong relationships with partners in the region to co-ordinate advocacy and mobilisation efforts.
Specific tasks undertaken by Regional Focal Points include the facilitation of the following tasks:

- identifying regional and sub-regional priority needs and resources;

- sharing technical assistance and expertise;

- identifying and/or strengthening NGO coalitions to work on specific issues;

- organising regional/national NGO lobbying campaigns to promote government implementation of relevant CRC articles, the Stockholm Agenda for Action and the Committee's Concluding observations in specific countries examined as well as other instrument listed above;

- organising technical meetings and workshops on identified gaps (i.e. the development of relevant indicators and other monitoring tools; etc.)

- collaborating to develop regional and sub-regional strategic planning;

- etc.








MANAGEMENT

The Management Team provides support to the Co-ordinator in her day to day management tasks. For practical reasons, it is made up of representatives of organisations member of the NGO Group Co-ordinating Committee based in Geneva who are easily reached and readily available.

At present it is composed of representatives of the following internat ional non-governmental organisations (INGOs):

International Catholic Child Bureau (BICE),
International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), also Convenor of the Steering Group,
International Federation Terre des Hommes (IFTDH),
World Vision.

The Management Team meets as needed in Geneva.