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UNICEF’s 2016 State of the World’s Children Report calls for a fair chance for every child

  |   SUN UN Network

UNICEF_SOWC_2016_001On 28 June 2016, UNICEF launched their annual flagship report The State of the World’s Children which paints a stark picture of what is in store for the world’s poorest children if governments, donors, businesses and international organizations do not accelerate efforts to address their needs.

The 2016 State of the World’s Children Report is a call to action for the world to treat its least fortunate children the way it treats its luckier children.

Based on current trends, 69 million children under five will die from mostly preventable causes, 167 million children will live in poverty, and 750 million women will have been married as children by 2030, the target date for the Sustainable Development Goals – unless the world focuses more on the plight of its most disadvantaged children, according to the report titled, “The State of the World’s Children 2016, A fair chance for every child”.

Today, too many children are not receiving the basic nutrition they need to survive and thrive. Undernutrition is one of the greatest killers of children under 5, responsible for nearly half of the deaths for that age group. For those who survive, the consequences of stunting – an irreversible condition that inhibits the physical and intellectual growth of children – cast a long shadow across their lives, harming health, school performance and potential future income.

When the most deprived children are not given a fair chance to realise their rights, they fall further behind and equity gaps grow wider. As children age, these initial inequities result in worse health and learning outcomes, lower nutritional status, earlier fertility for adolescent girls, and lower employment rates and earnings as adults.

UNICEF-stunting-graphic_665x285Children in the poorest households are less likely to attend school, less likely to learn, more likely to be married as children and less likely to have complete knowledge about HIV. Children with disabilities grow up poorer and are often excluded from the workforce, perpetuating cycles of poverty.

Eventually, unbalanced outcomes produce inequalities in economic and social conditions. Those disparities weigh down overall economic growth and prosperity, making it harder for families and countries to invest more in the next generation of disadvantaged children. Malnutrition and childhood illness compromise cognitive development and reduce adult productivity. When health systems fail to prevent illness, society pays a price in the form of treatment costs and lost productivity.

Conversely, improved maternal and child health and nutritional status can create a positive cycle, enabling children to realise their potential and helping their communities and countries to prosper.

A fair chance in life begins with a strong, healthy start.

Download the report English | Français | Español

Learn more about the report and join the #FightUnfair campaign

Learn more about UNICEF’s work on equity http://www.unicef.org/equity/

 

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