According to the analysis, 180 million children live in 37 countries where they are more likely to live in extreme poverty, be out of school, or be killed by violent death than children living in those countries 20 years ago.
“While the last generation has seen vast, unprecedented gains in living standards for most of the world's children, the fact that a forgotten minority of children have been excluded from this – through no fault of their own or those of their families – is a travesty,” said Laurence Chandy, UNICEF director of data, research and policy.
UNICEF is commemorating World Children’s Day, which marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, with global children’s 'take-overs', high-profile events and other activations of children in over 130 countries to give them their own platform to help save children’s lives, fight for their rights and fulfil their potential.
“It is the hope of every parent, everywhere, to provide greater opportunities for their children than they themselves enjoyed when they were young. This World Children’s Day, we have to take stock of how many children are instead seeing opportunities narrow and their prospects diminish,” added Chandy.
Assessing children’s prospects in escaping extreme poverty, getting a basic education and avoiding violent deaths, the UNICEF analysis reveals that:
- The share of people living on less than $1.90 a day has increased in 14 countries, including Benin, Cameroon, Madagascar, Zambia and Zimbabwe. This increase is mostly due to unrest, conflicts or poor governance.
- Primary school enrolment has declined in 21 countries, including Syria and Tanzania, due to such factors as financial crises, rapid population growth and the impact of conflicts.
- Violent deaths among children below the age of 19 have increased in seven countries: Central African Republic, Iraq, Libya, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen – all countries experiencing major conflicts.
- Four countries – Central African Republic, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen – witnessed a decline across more than one of the three areas measured, while South Sudan has experienced declines across all three.
“In a time of rapid technological change leading to huge gains in living standards, it is perverse that hundreds of millions are seeing living standards actually decline, creating a sense of injustice among them and failure among those entrusted with their care,” said Chandy. “No wonder they feel their voices are unheard and their futures uncertain.”
United Nations Universal Children’s Day was established in 1954 and is celebrated on November 20th each year to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children's welfare.
(Picture: Save the Children Australia)