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Today some 1.2 billion people survive on less than one dollar a day. Half of them are children. Another 400 million live on less than two dollars daily. While many countries have made great strides in alleviating poverty, such action has barely made a dent in global poverty statistics. With this in mind, a major conference in Geneva from 26-30 June seeks a convincing reversal in those numbers.
Called the World Summit for Social Development and Beyond, the conference is also dubbed Copenhagen +5 because it's the follow-up to the World Summit for Social Development held in the Danish capital in 1995. That summit produced the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action, an ambitious series of goals to eradicate poverty, promote jobs and livelihoods, and end social seclusion.
UNICEF is focusing on the priorities of children and women, for they bear the heaviest burden of poverty and are the key to a solution. Any sustainable effort to eliminate chronic poverty must begin with steps to ensure the well being of children and the realization of their rights. To ensure such rights, UNICEF stresses the need for three outcomes: guarantee the very youngest children a good start in life; give all children an opportunity to complete a good, quality basic education; provide adolescents the opportunity to develop fully their individual capacity.
Many hurdles lie in the way. The HIV/AIDS pandemic and the prevalence of armed conflict cripple entire countries, as do continued gender discrimination and deep poverty. The heavy debt burden of many developing countries siphons money away from vital basic services. To break the cycle of poverty and deprivation, these challenges must be met head-on.
For further information about Copenhagen +5 and UNICEF's participation, please look at the following.
Children and poverty: key facts | Press release | Statement | A Better World for All | Official UN website for Copenhagen +5