UNICEF: Despite progress, 180 million children face bleaker prospects than their parents
UNICEF observed World Children’s Day on Monday, with global children’s ‘take-overs’ to give children their own platform to help save children’s lives, fight for their rights and fulfil their potential. This day also marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the rights of the child on 20 November 1989.
A separate UNICEF survey of children aged 9-18 in 14 countries released today shows that children are deeply concerned about global issues affecting their peers and them personally, including violence, terrorism, conflict, climate change, unfair treatment of refugees and migrants, and poverty.
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 were 20 years ago.
Laurence Chandy, UNICEF Director of Data, Research and Policy said, “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. 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,” he said.
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, primary school enrolment has declined in 21 countries and violent deaths among children below the age of 19 have increased in seven countries.
“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,” he added.
Key findings from the survey include:
Half of children across all 14 countries report feeling disenfranchised when asked how they felt when decisions are made that affect children around the world.
Children across all 14 countries identified terrorism, poor education and poverty as the biggest issues they wanted world leaders to take action on.
Across all 14 countries, violence against children was the biggest concern.
Children across all 14 countries are equally concerned about terrorism and poor education.
Around 4 in 10 children across all 14 countries worry a lot about the unfair treatment of refugee and migrant children across the world.
Nearly half of children (45 per cent) across 14 countries do not trust their adults and world leaders to make good decisions for children.
Barack Obama, Cristiano Ronaldo, Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift are the most popular names for children to invite to their birthday party.
Watching TV featured as the number one hobby of choice in 7 out of 14 of the countries.
World Children’s Day is a day ‘for children, by children’, when children from around the world will be taking over key roles in media, politics, business, sport and entertainment to express their concerns about what global leaders should be focusing on, and to voice support for the millions of their peers who are facing a less hopeful future.
For the survey, UNICEF worked with Kantar and Lightspeed to poll more than 11,000 children aged between 9 and 18 years old in 14 countries about their concerns and attitudes on global issues including bullying, conflict/war, poverty, terrorism and violence against children. The countries surveyed were: Brazil, India, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. (UNICEF)