By: Philippines News Agency | Xinhua
June 24, 2015 10:34 AM
FILE PHOTO BY LOTTIE SALARDA
GENEVA — A report published by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) on Tuesday warns that prevailing inequalities mean that millions of children continue to live in poverty, die before they turn five, and lack access to education while suffering from chronic malnutrition.
Focusing on child-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) established by the UN in 2000, Unicef’s report Progress for Children: Beyond Averages: Learning from the MDGs, highlights the importance of placing those most in need at the center of the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda.
If progress remains at current levels, and if projected population growth proves to be accurate, Unicef estimates that 68 million more children under five will die from mostly preventable causes by 2030 while some 119 million children will still be chronically malnourished in 2030.
These figures come despite the headway made since MDGs implementation, as under-five mortality has dropped by over half, underweight and chronic malnutrition among under-fives has decreased by 42 and 41 percent respectively, and maternal mortality has decreased by 45 percent.
Amid the progress made in child survival, nutrition, reduction in mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and primary school enrollment, Unicef considers these achievements to be “only part of a story.”
Figures show that 47 percent of the 1 billion people living in extreme poverty today are 18 years or under, while the poorest children are not only almost twice as likely to die before age five than their richest counterparts, but also five times more likely to be out of school than the latter.
According to the UN agency, enhanced local health, education, and social protection systems should be encouraged to help more children not only survive but also thrive, while investments tailored to the needs of the most vulnerable can furthermore yield short- and long-term benefits.
These changes are considered crucial in light of the 6 million children who die every year before their fifth birthday, the 289,000 women dying annually while giving birth, and the 58 million children who don’t have access to primary education.