The rate of child marriages has not decreased in decades and the number of children not attending school continues to climb worldwide, especially in developing countries. Besides, millions of children could die from mainly preventable deaths by 2030.
These are just few of the findings included in the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) recent report, which paints a precarious situation of children and youth across the world.
The root of all these ills, according to the 2016 State of the World’s Children report, is drastically widening economic inequality.
UNICEF said some 69 million children would die by 2030 if nations did not act fast to tackle economic disparity, the report said, adding that this was also the best way to prevent future crises.
Justin Forsyth, UNICEF’s deputy director, says that the report is broadcasting the UN message into a world that is more hostile,” particularly for migrant and refugee children.
“Our job is to be there on the ground to help children survive,” she said. “To that end, the best way powerful nations can prevent future suffering is to stop some of these forces overwhelming particular countries and polarising the political debate.”
To give a concrete example, Forsyth said that just a 2% increase in expenditure in 74 countries could save 147 million children between the age of one and five from preventable deaths.
This disparity with which children will be affected by growing inequality will affect some regions more than others, UNICEF Program Director Ted Chaiban, says.
“Eighty percent of preventable deaths now occur in south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, with almost half occurring in India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Congo and Ethiopia,” he says.
Photo: DRC displaced children beg for food in the capital Kinshasa.