Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Conference on Economic Crisis and Children

UNICEF and ODI are jointly hosting a conference in London November 9-10, 2009 entitled: The global economic crisis – Including children in the policy response.This conference will bring together development practitioners, policy experts and academic researchers from around the world to develop a deeper understanding of the ways in which the food and fuel price volatility, financial market volatility and global economic slowdown are affecting children, women and other vulnerable groups, and how policy responses to the crisis can put these most vulnerable groups first.

At the conference, ODI will present a report on past crises based on research it has undertaken for UNICEF as part of this broader partnership.UNICEF and ODI are hosting speakers as well as panelists who will represent a broad range of disciplines and sectors to encourage discussion of these issues of vital importance to children. Attendees will include academics, representatives from both developing and developed country governments, members of the private sector, partner agencies and IFIs and donors.

This space will house information on conference logistics, e-proceedings from the event, and active disussion of original research papers submitted by participants. Please contact us at globalpolicy AT unicef.org with any questions or comments.


UNICEF UK, 30a Great Sutton Street, London, UK
9-10 November 2009
Conference Agenda

Monday November 9th

9.30am – 10.00am: Check in and coffee

10.00am – 11.30pm
Opening and Presentation of ODI/UNICEF Report
Richard Morgan, UNICEF; Diane Elson, Essex University (TBC); Caroline Harper, ODI; Isabel Ortiz, UNICEF.

11.45am – 1.30pm
Lessons learned in past crises and expectations for the current crisis
Chair and opening presentation: Sanjeev Gupta, IMF


  1. The impact of the global economic crises on the socio-economic conditions of vulnerable groups in deprived societies. Dr. Prince Osei-Adjei, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana.

--Lunch (provided) --

2.45pm – 4.30pm
From potential threat to current realities: emerging impacts on children of the current crisis
Chair and opening presentation: Kevin Watkins, UNESCO Education for All Report


  1. Consequences of the financial crisis with respect to children in Egypt. Huda Al-Kitkat, Information and Decision Support, Egyptian Cabinet, Egypt.

5.00pm – 6.00pm
Recovery with a Human Face: Discussion with authors of UNICEF’s ‘Adjustment with a human face’ on what has and hasn’t been learnt from past experiences
Richard Morgan, UNICEF (Chair); Sir Richard Jolly, IDS and Professor Frances Stewart, Oxford.

6.00pm – 7.00pm: Reception

Tuesday November 10th

9.00am – 10.45am
Childhood and vulnerability: Compounding risk during crises
Chair and opening presentation: Jody Heymann, McGill University, Canada


  1. Global economic crisis: The challenges of girl-child education and alternative jobs in Nigeria. Femi Tinuola, Kogi State University, Nigeria.

11.15am – 1.00pm
Including children in policy responses: Past lessons and future scenarios
Chair and opening presentation: Richard Blewitt, HelpAge International, UK


  1. Simulating the impact of the global food, fuel and financial crises on children and policy responses in Burkina Faso. John Cockburn, University of Laval, Poverty and Economic Policy Network, Canada.
  2. Towards understanding the impact of the international financial crisis on child poverty in South Africa: A micro-macro simulation perspective. Servaas van der Berg, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa and Dr. Ramos Magubu, South Africa Fiscal and Financial Commission, South Africa.

--Lunch (provided) --

2.15pm – 4.00pm
Snapshots of responses in progress
Chair and opening presentation: Bella Bird, DFID, UK


  1. Adolescents, crisis and risk: Are CCTs adequate policy answers? Valeria Llobet, New School University, USA.
  2. The impact of the global food, fuel and financial crises and policy responses: A child-sensitive approach. Suwanee Khamman, National Economic and Social Development Board, Thailand.

4.00 pm
Closing remarks and ways forward
Isabel Ortiz, UNICEF; David Stewart, UNICEF; Caroline Harper, ODI.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Conference coverage

Photo from the opening panel at the UNICEF-ODI conference in London

Please visit Karen Grepin's blog to see her take-aways from the conference. Many thanks, Karen, for your post!

Also visit the UNICEF website to read an article posted about the conference.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Conference location: UNICEF UK, 30a Great Sutton Street, LONDON EC1V 0DU

The closest train station is Farringdon. Come out of the exit for Turnmill Street, turn left and walk up to the main road, Clerkenwell Road. Turn right onto this road and cross over. St Johns Street will be on your left, turn into this road and Great Sutton Street will be to your right. UNICEF House is on the left hand side. If you have any queries, please call the UNICEF reception: 0207 490 2388 for assistance.

Underground Stations near the conference:

Barbican (Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City, Circle lines) – 6 minute walk
Farringdon (as above) -7 minute walk
Old Street (Northern line) - 15 minute walk

Railway Stations:

Farringdon Rail – 7 minute walk

For trains to: Brighton, Bedford, Portsmouth, Wimbledon, St Albans, Luton and more, please visit First Capital Connect.

City Thameslink - 15min

Trains to: Brighton, Gatwick, Wimbledon, St Albans, Bedford
Old Street – 15min

Trains to: Welwyn Garden City, Letchworth Garden City, Stevenage & Hertford North etc
Cannon St - 25 min


Clerkenwell Rd
  • No 55 (Oxford Circus to Leyton via Hackney)
  • No 243 (Waterloo to Wood Green via Stoke Newington)

  • No 153 (Liverpool St to Finsbury Pk via Islington)
    Goswell Rd

  • No 4 (Waterloo to Archway via Finsbury Pk)

  • No 56 (St Bart’s Hospital to Whipps Cross via Islington)

Holborn Circus

  • No 521 (Waterloo)


Heathrow Airport

You can take the Heathrow Express to London Paddington and then the Hammersmith and City underground line towards Barking which stops at Farringdon (our nearest station).

See the London underground map for more information.

London Gatwick

You can take the First Capital Connect train from Gatwick airport to Farringdon, it will take about an hour.

Find train times here.

Hotel options for conference attendees

Conference attendees should make arrangements for lodging during the event. The list below includes hotels close to UNICEF UK, where the conference will take place. The address is: 30a Great Sutton Street, London EC1V 0DU.

We have not yet visited any of these hotels, so we can't make recommendations, but online reviews indicate that they are good quality with reasonable prices.

Milesfaster.com: This website has a list of hotels which are within 1-2 miles of UNICEF UK’s offices. You can book through this site (prices tend to include taxes and breakfast but double- check) or contact the hotels directly (full hotel details below).

  • Thistle City Barbican – 10 mins from UNICEF UK. Central Street, Clerkenwell, EC1V 8DSTel: UK 0871 376 9004, Int +44 870 333 9101, CityBarbican@Thistle.co.uk. To get the best rates, call the hotel and ask for their government rate.
  • Citadines Barbican Apartments – 8 mins from UNICEF UK7-21 Goswell Road, London EC1M 7AHApartment/hotel with double sofa beds.
  • Holiday Inn Express London City – 20 minutes from UNICEF UK.
  • The Rookery – 8 mins from UNICEF UK; 1 min from Farringdon tube 12 Peters Lane, London, EC1M 6DS tel: 020 73360931‎, 0871 223 5000‎

  • The Zetter – 3 mins from UNICEF UK. 86-88 Clerkenwell Road, London EC1M 5RJ

  • Malmaison – 10-15 mins from UNICEF UK. Charterhouse Square, London EC1M 6AH. Expensive but offers ‘Saver Rates’ online.
  • Crowne Plaza – 30-35 mins from UNICEF UK. 100 Shoreditch High Street E1 6QJ
  • Travel Lodge London City – 20-25 mins from UNICEF UK. 7-12 City Road, London EC1Y 1AE.

Other hotel/apartments – a little further afield:

Other hotels which are 30-40 mins away from UNICEF UK’s office (no special rate):


Bedford Hotel
Southampton Row, London WC1B 4HD
Reservations: + 44 (0) 20 7636 7822

Russell Square
London WC1B 5BB
Reservations: +44 (0)20 7837 3655

UNICEF UK has a special rate with Grange Hotels. The hotels below are near Russell Square/Covent Garden area (30-30 minutes’ walk from Clerkenwell). When booking your reservation, use the UNICEF Rates Access ID: 18072 for the special rate.


50-60 Southampton Row
Tel: 020 7242 1800
London WC1B 4AR

2-5 Montague Street
Tel: 020 7580 2224
London, WC1B 5BU

7 Montague Street
Tel: 020 7323 1717
London, WC1B 5BP

Bloomsbury Townhouse Collection

39-40 Bedford Place
Tel: 020 7636 2474
London, WC1B 5JT

31-32 Bedford Place
Tel: 020 7580 7088
London, WC1B 5JH

34-37 Bedford Place
Tel: 020 7307 1575
London, WC1B 5JR

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Opening and presentation of UNICEF/ODI report

Opening and Presentation of ODI/UNICEF Report
Richard Morgan, UNICEF; Diane Elson, Essex University (TBC); Caroline Harper, ODI; Isabel Ortiz, UNICEF.

Abstract: This paper is motivated by a concern about the effects of the 2008/9 financial crisis on children and their care-givers, who are often particularly vulnerable when crises strike. As yet it is too early to appreciate these impacts in full hence we focus here on shocks or crisis episodes in the recent past in four geographical regions alongside an assessment of contemporary crisis impacts from available sources. We explore the transmission mechanisms of shocks from the broader macro economy, through meso-level channels (such as unemployment, reduced public services and credit) to impacts at the household level and specifically on children’s rights. Whilst none of our regional cases are directly comparable with the current crisis we find we can still learn a substantial amount from previous crises, the impacts of which were often as significant in the countries affected as those anticipated to result from today’s crisis, both immediately and in the longer term.

Using a general conceptual framework, nuanced to examine the effects of different types of crises, we uncover significant effects at the meso level, including large increases in unemployment characterised by important gender and age dimensions, public service cuts - themselves varying in effect according to strategic policy choices concerning social sector composition and pre-existing social and economic conditions - and reduced access to credit and declining social capital. Children’s rights are compromised as effects are mediated through households coping with reduced consumption capacity, changed gender relations related to a shifting locus of financial responsibility, increased stress levels and resulting increases in domestic tension and violence and reduced mental health, as well as reduced time and capacity for protection, nurture and care. These effects, compounded by governments’ reduced fiscal capacity can have moderate to severe impacts on children, but policy responses can mitigate these effects, in particular strategic uses of aid, social protection sensitive to age and gender, policy choices which protect investments in basic and social services and a new sharper policy focus on issues of nurture, care and protection.

Richard Morgan is the Director of Policy and Practice at UNICEF. He has published widely on on household food security, social welfare policy, rural development and African development issues, as well as on development strategies, human rights approaches to development, public spending reform, gender and development.

Diane Elson is a Professor at Essex University. Her current research and teaching interests are in global social change and the realisation of human rights with a particular focus on gender inequality and economic and social policy. From 1998 to 2000, she was Special Advisor to the Executive Director at UNIFEM, the United Nations Development Fund for Women, where she completed a global report, Progress of the World's Women, 2000. She was a member of the UN Millennium

Project Task Force on Education and Gender Equality. Professor Elson has provided consultancy services to many development agencies including DFID, the Swedish International Development Agency, and the Dutch Ministry for Foreign Affairs. She has also acted as an advisor to Oxfam and other NGOs. She has published widely on gender, development and human rights.

Caroline Harper
has a PhD in Social Anthropology and is currently associate director of the Chronic Poverty Research Centre and a Research Fellow at ODI. Previously she was director of the Childhood Poverty Policy and Research Centre (CHIP), a collaborative venture between Manchester University and Save the Children and Co-Director of Young Lives, a longitudinal study of childhood poverty. She worked for Save the Children in several roles in the UK and overseas (predominantly in S.E. Asia) focusing on issues of poverty, economic adjustment, participation, research, evaluation and policy processes, and worked for 4 years for the UN in China on anti-poverty programmes.

Isabel Ortiz is Associate Director at UNICEF. She has over 17 years experience working in more than 30 countries in various areas of economic and social development. She was educated in Spain and the UK, where she attained a Master and a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics. Isabel Ortiz started as a lecturer and a researcher, but soon moved to development work. She has contributed not only to international agencies such as the EC and DFID, but also to civil society organizations, such as Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz's Initiative for Policy Dialogue. In recent years she worked at the Asian Development Bank (1995-2003) and at the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations (2005-2009).

Panel 1: Lessons learned in past crises and expectations for the current crisis

Panel 1: Lessons learned in past crises and expectations for the current crisis
Chair and opening presentation: Sanjeev Gupta, IMF

Dr. Sanjeev Gupta is Deputy Director in the Fiscal Affairs Department of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He was previously Senior Advisor in the Fiscal Affairs Department, Assistant Director in the African Department; Assistant Director and Chief in the Expenditure Policy Division of the Fiscal Affairs Department; and Economist in the European Department. Mr. Gupta has led IMF missions to over 20 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East and represented the IMF in numerous international meetings and seminars. In the fiscal area, the missions have focused on public expenditure policy, pensions, fiscal decentralization, fiscal transparency, public financial management, and public-private partnerships.

Quantifying the impact of past financial crises on the health of children and households. Karen Grépin, NYU, USA.

Abstract: The global economic downturn (GED) of 2008-2009 has driven up the price of food, fuel and other essential commodities, has reduced wages and household incomes, and has threatened to reduce public spending on social programs in developing countries. It is widely believed that the financial crisis will adversely affect child health, potentially eroding some of the progress that has been made at reducing child mortality and delaying the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Previous studies have investigated the impact of aggregate income shocks on aggregate measures of child health across countries, or on changes to health seeking behavior in a number of country-case studies but few studies have investigated how aggregate income shock translate into changes in child mortality in a cross-country setting. Using data from all existing Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), I explore the effect of aggregate income shocks on infant mortality and household health seeking behavior using a cross-country, fixed-effects study design. I find that the utilization of health service is sensitive to aggregate economic shocks, in particular to the use of newer vaccines, antenatal care, and breastfeeding. These represent very preliminary estimates and future releases of this paper are expected in the coming weeks.

Karen Grépin is an Assistant Professor of Global Health Policy at New York University. Karen's research focuses on the economics and politics of health service delivery in developing countries, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa. Grépin has been a consultant to a number of international health organizations, including the World Bank, the World Health Organization, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She also maintains a well-read global health blog: karengrepin.blogspot.com. Grépin has published research articles on the organization of neglected tropical diseases control programs, including the future on onchocerciasis control in Africa and the integration of mass drug administration programs. She has forthcoming articles on the impact of a maternal health initiative in Ghana on health service utilization, the role of health development assistance in strengthening health systems in Sub-Saharan Africa, and human resources for health.

Impact of economic crisis on the well-being of children. Almudena Fernández, UNDP.

Abstract: Aggregate macroeconomic shocks have a direct impact on the welfare of households. The global crisis of 2008/2009 will be no exception, and the magnitude of these impacts will depend on the length of the crisis, the pace of the recovery and the social protection programs in place at the country level. This paper, based on the results of the project Crisis and MDGs in Latin America and the Caribbean, aims to measure the effects of the global recession on the well-being of children, taking into account the progress achieved in the region in social protection programs over the decades. The paper has two main components. First, it presents empirical analysis to estimate the relation between macroeconomic crises, defined as aggregate negative shocks, and social indicators at the local and household levels. Specifically, it estimates the impact of economic crises on child and maternal health, education and poverty in Argentina, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Mexico and Peru.

The empirical analysis will be conducted using data from past crises and various methodologies including a difference-in-difference approach, to capture overall impacts of economic crises on the variables of interest; fixed effects models, to measure the effects of changes in GDP on outcome variables across states or regions within a country; an instrumental variable approach to fix endogeneity problems that might arise; and, where “high frequency” (monthly) data is available, a regression discontinuity design.

The second component of the paper estimates the role that social protection programs, already established in the region, will play as coping mechanisms to mitigate the long-term effects of the economic slowdown. Finally, the paper delivers a set of policy recommendations to help compensate for the likely welfare loss of children.

Almudena Fernández is a researcher on economic issues in the Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean (RBLAC) from de United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Before, she worked for the Instituto Libertad y Democracia at Lima where she was an economic analyst. She participated in the diagnostic of the economy in countries like Guatemala and Tanzania. She has worked at Washington D.C. as program associate for the project CHANGE from the Academy for Educational Development

The impact of the global economic crises on the socio-economic conditions of vulnerable groups in deprived societies. Dr. Prince Osei-Adjei, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana.

Abstract: The world now stands challenged by the most deterrent economic crises with its rippling untold impact on the socio-economic conditions of several economies and vulnerable groups within these economies. Financial slow-down affecting monetary expansion to both private and public enterprises, food shortages and hiking food and fuel prices have been key characteristics of the crises impacting the world economy today. However, this situation is no new experience in the socio-economic history of Africa particularly south of the Sahara. Many African countries gained independence with high expectations for rapid economic growth, poverty reduction and improvement in the living conditions of masses of their citizenry. Not long after independence however, several of these countries were hardly hit and engulfed in a serious socio-economic downturn. In the 1980’s specifically, Africa south of the Sahara experienced a serious economic crisis unprecedented in the history of the region. Signs of deterioration in the region became visible with manifold manifestations in the early 1970’s aggravating in the 1980’s.

The United Nations referred to the decade of the 1980’s as the “Lost Decade” for Africa, which necessitated the introduction and subsequent adoption of the Structural Adjustment Programme from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to help arrest the socio-economic crisis and restore overseas confidence in the region. The paper discusses the nature and dimensions of the 1980’s crises. It examines Ghana’s experience in the implementation of the policy recommendations to contain the crises, and emphasizes the socio-economic impact and cost of the adjustment policies and programmes on the vulnerable and affected groups in the country. Actions taken to mitigate the social cost and lessons from Ghana’s experience relevant to the most recent global economic crises
and its likely implications on the socio-economic conditions of children, youth and care-givers in vulnerable households in deprived communities are highlighted

Prince Osei-Adjei (PhD) is a community development expert, a founding member and the Director of Programmes for the Centre for Rural Research and Poverty Reduction, Ghana. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Geography and Rural Development from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana and is a research fellow of the Rural Research and Advocacy Group (RRAG).