On Universal Children's Day, look to the future, says UNICEF
By 2050, one in three children will be born
NEW YORK, 20
November 2012 – On Universal Children’s Day, UNICEF issued a new
research paper highlighting global demographic shifts forecast for the coming
generation of children that present major challenges to policy makers and
paper for instance says that by 2050 one in every three births will be African
– as will also be almost one in every three children under the age of 18. One
hundred years earlier, sub-Saharan Africa’s share of births was just one in 10.
paper, Generation 2025 and beyond: The
critical importance of understanding demographic trends for children of the 21st
century, says that in turn under-5 deaths will continue increasingly to be
concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa, in pockets of poverty and marginalization
in populous lower-income countries and in least developed nations.
is important is whether the world as it prepares for the post-2015 agenda takes
account of this fundamental and unprecedented shift,” said co-author UNICEF’s
David Anthony. “We must do everything possible so these children get an equal
chance to survive, develop and reach their full potential.”
October 2011, the world’s population reached 7 billion and on current
projections it will hit 8 billion by 2025. The paper says that next billion of
global inhabitants will still be children by 2025 and 90 per cent of them will
have been born in less developed regions.
paper projects only a modest four per cent increase in the global population of
children by 2025, but the population growth shifts significantly to countries
in the South.
to projections, the 49 countries classified as the world’s least developed
nations will account for around 455 million of the 2 billion global births
between 2010 and 2025. Five populous middle income countries – China, India,
Indonesia, Pakistan and Nigeria – will account for about 859 million births
between 2010 and 2025.
only high-income country projected to have an increasing proportion of children
by 2025 is the United States – among
the top five countries for births in the next 15 years.
China and India will continue to have a major share of the world’s population,
in absolute terms Nigeria will see the highest increase in its under-18
population of any country, adding 31 million children, a rise of 41 per cent,
between 2010 and 2025. At the same time, Nigeria will account for one in every
eight deaths among under-18s.
paper says policy implications of the shift of child population and child
deaths to the world’s poorest and most populous countries are key. For least
developed countries, serious consideration must be given to how to meet the
needs of children, especially in health and education.
study, derived from projections by the United Nations Population Division, says
the ageing population globally will increase pressure to shift resources away
do not vote, and their voices are often not heard when governments make
decisions about funding,” said paper co-author Danzhen You from UNICEF. “So it
will be more important than ever to safeguard children so their rights are
respected and upheld.”
paper’s recommendations include: targeting investments to the areas where
children will be born; an emphasis on neglected groups, especially in high
population, middle income countries; reaching the poorest and most isolated
households, and urgently tackling the issue of old age dependency.
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UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to help children
survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s
largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child
health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for
all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation,
and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of
individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information
about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org
About Universal Children’s Day
1954, the United Nations General Assembly recommended that all countries
institute a Universal Children's Day, to be observed as a day of worldwide
fraternity and understanding between children. It recommended that the Day be
devoted to promoting the ideals and objectives of the United Nations Charter
and the welfare of the children of the world. The date 20 November marks the
day on which the Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child,
in 1959, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in 1989.