Despite progress, 180 million children face bleaker prospects than their parents – UNICEF

World Children’s Day activities in over 130 countries to provide platform for children to speak out about their concerns; advocate for children being left behind.

20 November 2017
#KidsTakeOver Media
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#KidsTakeOver Media - Children hosting an afternoon TV show

 

NEW YORK, 20 November 2017 – Despite global progress, 1 in 12 children worldwide live in countries where their prospects today are worse than those of their parents, according to a UNICEF analysis conducted for World Children’s Day. 

According to the analysis, 180 million children live in 37 countries where they are more likely to live in extreme poverty, be out of school, or be killed by violent death than children living in those countries were 20 years ago. 

“While the last generation has seen vast, unprecedented gains in living standards for most of the world's children, the fact that a forgotten minority of children have been excluded from this – through no fault of their own or those of their families – is a travesty” said Laurence Chandy, UNICEF Director of Data, Research and Policy.

UNICEF is commemorating World Children’s Day, which marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, with global children’s 'take-overs', high-profile events and other activations of children in over 130 countries to give children their own platform to help save children’s lives, fight for their rights and fulfil their potential. 

“In a time of rapid technological change leading to huge gains in living standards, it is perverse that hundreds of millions are seeing living standards actually decline, creating a sense of injustice among them and failure among those entrusted with their care,” said Chandy. “No wonder they feel their voices are unheard and their futures uncertain.”

A separate UNICEF survey of children aged 9-18 in 14 countries also released today shows that children are deeply concerned about global issues affecting their peers and them personally, including violence, terrorism, conflict, climate change, unfair treatment of refugees and migrants, and poverty. 

Key findings from the survey include: 

· Half of children across all 14 countries report feeling disenfranchised when asked how they felt when decisions are made that affect children around the world. 

· Children across all 14 countries identified terrorism, poor education and poverty as the biggest issues they wanted world leaders to take action on. 

· Across all 14 countries, violence against children was the biggest concern with 67 per cent reporting worrying a lot.  

· Around 4 in 10 children across all 14 countries worry a lot about the unfair treatment of refugee and migrant children across the world.     

· Nearly half of children (45 per cent) across 14 countries do not trust their adults and world leaders to make good decisions for children.  

· Barack Obama, Cristiano Ronaldo, Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift are the most popular names for children to invite to their birthday party, with the former President of the United States featuring in the top five in 9 of the 14 countries. Watching TV featured as the number one hobby of choice in 7 out of 14 of the countries.

World Children’s Day is a day ‘for children, by children’, when children from around the world will be taking over key roles in media, politics, business, sport and entertainment to express their concerns about what global leaders should be focusing on, and to voice support for the millions of their peers who are facing a less hopeful future.

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham, President of Chile Michelle Bachelet, singer, songwriter and actress P!nk, actress Millie Bobby Brown, singers, songwriters and musicians Chloe x Halle, legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and FCB and FCB Foundation are among the many stars, leaders and organizations lending their voices to children for World Children’s Day.

“World Children’s Day is about listening to us and giving us a say in our future. And our message is clear: We need to speak up for ourselves, and when we do, the world needs to listen,” said Jaden Michael, 14-year-old activist and UNICEF child advocate.

Media Contacts

Maya Kurtsikidze

Communication Officer

UNICEF Georgia

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.

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