Children’s Rights

CERG has an overarching commitment to the use of social science research in helping to achieve a more just world for children. It is for this reason that over the past two decades we have used the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child as a guiding document for our research priorities. Our research agenda is very much focused on trying to understand the experiences and perspectives of children themselves. Inevitably, this brings us down to conducting research directly with children and with those working closely with them. We recognize the importance of understanding the larger social economic and political forces that influence children’s lives, but we enter the problem from the level of children’s everyday lives and children’s eyes.

CERG believes that improvements to the physical environment are central to the fulfillment of children’s rights and to the task of poverty reduction for families, so much of our work on children’s rights focuses on the environment. However, CERG team members increasingly find themselves being pulled into projects that are not particularly focused on the qualities of the physical environment.   For example, we have initiated a global project to document the organizational qualities of the new kinds of children’s membership groups that have emerged in recent years in many countries ( We have supported numerous international child-focused NGO’s through consulting in the field: Save the Children, Fin Church Aid, World Vision and Plan International.

Publications include the book Cities for Children (for sale from CERG for $40.00 including postage) and the booklet “Children’s Rights and Habitat”, both prepared with UNICEF in response to the United Nations “Habitat” conference on Human Settlements in Istanbul. Our work in this area is related to our understanding of children’s development in relation to qualities of the physical environment and our knowledge of effective participatory strategies for supporting residents, including children and youth, in community development. Much of this overseas work is carried out in collaboration with the Human Settlements section of the International Institute for Environment and Development in London. Sheridan Bartlett, Research Associate with CERG, also serves as Managing Editor of the journal produced by IIED, “Environment and Urbanization“.