Social policy and local governance

Finding lasting, local solutions for governance challenges.

A young girl in Vietnam holds her lunch tray at her primary school.

Local governments play a key role providing essential services to children. Whether in urban or rural settings, they help connect girls and boys to nutritious food, safe water, quality education, sanitation, and other services that reduce the burden of poverty.

Yet, in many countries, local governments are not fully equipped to meet children’s needs. Lack of information and resources can prevent them from reaching every child – especially those vulnerable to discrimination and exclusion – with education, health care and other forms of social protection.

365体育娱乐官网Without data on children’s well-being, local governments may struggle to understand who’s being left behind and why. Insufficient resources can also hinder their efforts to plan, budget for and monitor social services. And since governments often rely on partners to help improve the quality and reach of services, coordination may create additional challenges that cut children off from care.

Through it all, children and adolescents have little opportunity to voice their needs, influence decisions and hold leaders to account.

A 17-year-old girl in Côte d'Ivoire speaks into a microphone for a live radio programme.
Ines, 17, airs live from Abidjan during a young reporters' radio show broadcasted across Côte d'Ivoire. Financed by UNICEF, the programme gives adolescents a platform to discuss local issues that concern them.

UNICEF’s response

UNICEF works with local governments and communities in more than 100 countries to find lasting solutions for governance challenges. We help policymakers meet children’s needs by:


  • Generating geographically disaggregated data that show how children in various communities are faring in health, education and other areas.
  • Ensuring local government budgets are equitable and allocate funds to benefit the children most in need.
  • Empowering children and their communities to participate in decision-making processes and evaluate local services.
  • Enhancing service delivery and coordination by partnering with the private sector and civil society.


In 2016, UNICEF supported the Government of Morocco to update its municipal management information system – which now integrates data from various sources, including local censuses and administrative records, to depict the well-being of children and women at the local level. In Peru, UNICEF has supported national, regional and local governments to plan and budget for disaster-risk management, helping more than 130 communities became better prepared for emergencies and climate change.