UNICEF Launches Progress for Children Report

8 September 2010: The UN Children Fund (UNICEF) has recently released its flagship report, titled "Progress for Children," with a special focus on achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with equity.

The report provides evidence of growing disparities in the lives of poor children based on indicators of poverty, gender and geographical location of residence. It notes persistent disparities between urban and rural populations, estimating that among the people who lack access to safe drinking water sources worldwide, 84% live in rural areas. The report identifies five major threats that could undermine MDG gains for children, namely: climate change and ecosystem degradation; the financial and food crises; rapid urbanization, escalating humanitarian crises; and heightened fiscal austerity.

On climate change, the report underscores the particular vulnerability to climate change of the children of the poor. It adds that these children live in homes that provide inadequate shelter and are exposed to, inter alia, malaria and other vector-borne diseases that are known to be highly sensitive to climatic conditions. The report further highlights that the least developed countries (LDCs) are likely to bear the brunt of climate change, adding that they often lack the physical infrastructure and systems needed to cope with such climatic events as drought and flooding. The report argues that an equity-based approach, focusing on the most disadvantaged and marginalized children, can be a cost effective strategy to reduce child and maternal mortality. [UNICEF Progress for Children Report]