Review of report on the cost of child marriage over the life cycle - ESCWA
9-10 November 2021
Expert Group Meeting

Review of report on the cost of child marriage over the life cycle

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  • Online
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The study under review, entitled “The cost of child marriage over the life cycle: evidence from Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Tunisia”, drafted by ESCWA in partnership with UN Women Regional Office for Arab States, UNFPA Arab States Regional Office, and UNICEF Middle East and North Africa Regional Office, presents analysis of the economic impact of child marriage in the Arab region.

The expert group meeting aims to engage expert opinions on the draft study, validate the study’s findings, and collectively develop recommendations for member States.

Outcome document

Participants were positive about the research undertaken including the theoretical framework and costing methodology.

They recommended that to take this work forward would require consideration of context-specific legal and policy frameworks, more clarity on the methodology used, further justification for the theoretical framework used, and some revision in order to include additional data points and levels of analysis.

The EGM started with a brief overview of the legal and policy frameworks governing child marriage in the Arab region, and discussed some of the loopholes that exist in some contexts that allow for child marriage.

Participants commented on policy frameworks or legislation missing from the review, such as those that relate to legal pluralism and humanitarian contexts. In addition, participants suggested that civil society’s work to end child marriage should be included.

Session 2 presented the conceptual framework of the study i.e. the life cycle approach, and delved into the relevant facets of a girl’s life that are impacted if they are a victim of child marriage.

Participants discussed whether the life cycle approach was an appropriate framework for this study and suggested that a child rights perspective be included, explicitly mention other frameworks that have been disregarded, mention mental health, and state that there is limited data relating to the framework.

Session 3 presented the methodology and data used.

Participants commented on the clarity of the methodology and appropriateness of the data. Participants recommended additional indicators that may be helpful, including multi-level analysis, and regional level controls.

Session 4 presented the key findings made on the six stages of the life cycle.

Participants recommended including analysis relating to refugees, including more local level data, and including data relating to decision-making at the family level.

Session 5 presented the existing methodologies for economic costing of child marriage.

Participants recommended learning from comparative studies such as the burden of disease study, and using data from other large-scale surveys.

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