28 June 2016
UNICEF says millions of young children will die mostly preventable deaths by 2030 if global poverty and inequality are not addressed.
It says in its 2016 State of the World’s Children Report that though millions of children have been lifted out of poverty, progress has been uneven.
Children in sub-Sahara Africa face the highest levels of mortality, poor nutrition, child marriage and illiteracy, it said.
UNICEF projected that based on current trends and projected population growth, 167 million children would live in extreme poverty by 2030; 60 million won’t be attending primary school, and 750 million women would have been married as children unless inequality is tackled now.
“Some of the big challenges that we now face like refugees and migrants, are connected with inequality and poverty,” said Justin Forsyth, UNICEF’s deputy executive director
The report called for stronger efforts to educate the world’s children, noting that on average, each additional year of education a child receives increases her or his adult earnings by about 10 per cent.
UNICEF called on all 193 UN member states to develop national plans that put disadvantaged children first and set specific goals to close gaps between the richest and poorest.
“Our job in UNICEF is to be there on the ground and helping children survive,” Forsyth said.
UNICEF Programme Director Ted Chaiban added that there were also more children living in conflict areas.
He said: “Eighty per cent of preventable deaths now occur in south Asia and sub-Sahara Africa with almost half occurring in India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Congo and Ethiopia.”