World’s Poorest Children Left Behind- UNICEF
23 June 2015 at 11:39 am
Despite significant achievements, millions of children are still living in poverty, dying before they turn five, being denied schooling and suffer chronic malnutrition, according to the latest report by global children’s relief organisation, UNICEF.
UNICEF’s final report on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Progress for Children: Beyond Averages, warns that the global community will fail millions of children if it does not focus on the most disadvantaged in its new 15-year development roadmap.
“The MDGs helped the world realise tremendous progress for children but they also showed us how many children we are leaving behind,” UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said.
“Disparities within countries have left children from the poorest households twice as likely to die before their fifth birthday and far less likely to achieve minimum reading standards than children from the richest households.”
The report said that continued failure to reach these children can have dramatic consequences.
At current rates of progress, given projected population growth, the report estimated that:
68 million more children under five will die from mostly preventable causes by 2030;
An estimated 119 million children will still be chronically malnourished in 2030;
Half a billion people will still be defecating in the open, posing serious risks to children’s health in 2030;
It will take almost 100 years for all girls from sub-Saharan Africa’s poorest families to complete their lower secondary education.
UNICEF Australia said too much of the bad news in the report was close to home.
“Progress still eludes the nearly six million children who die every year before their fifth birthday, the 289,000 women who die every year while giving birth and the 58 million children who don’t go to primary school,” UNICEF Australia Head of Advocacy Aivee Robinson said.
“In Indonesia, there are still 1,335,753 primary-school aged children not in school today and fewer than half the country’s secondary school-age population are receiving the basic education they need to lift themselves, and their family, from poverty.
“These inequities begin at birth and develop into vicious cycles of deprivation that affect children’s lives today, and echo through generations – threatening national stability and prosperity.”
UNICEF has called for world leaders to put children at the heart of new goals and targets when the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are announced later this year, pointing to the need for better data; stronger local health, education and social protection systems and smarter investments tailored to the needs of the most vulnerable children.
“The SDGs present an opportunity to apply the lessons we have learned and reach the children in greatest need – and shame on us if we don’t,” Dr Lake said.
“Greater equity for today’s children means less inequality and more global progress tomorrow.”