Progress For Children
New York, 10 December, 2007 - A new report issued today by UNICEF reveals a wealth of detailed information on progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.
Progress for Children: A World Fit for Children Statistical Review is the sixth in a series of Progress for Children reports released by UNICEF, and the most comprehensive in scope since the series was launched in 2004.
“This edition of Progress for Children provides comprehensive data on the Millennium Development Goals,” said UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman. “While the data shows considerable progress, much more remains to be done.”
Following the recent announcement that in 2006 the number of children under-five who die before their fifth birthday declined below 10 million for the first time in recent history, Progress for Children provides data on measures that contribute to improvements in child health, including those that could lead to further reductions in under-five mortality over coming years.
The findings of the report include the following:
• Between 1990 and 2004 more than 1.2 billion people gained access to safe drinking water.
In addition to progress in child survival, progress has also been made in education, gender equality and child protection.
Increases in school enrolment and attendance reduced the number of primary-school-age children out of school by around 20 per cent between 2002 and 2006.
And while girls still remain disadvantaged in some areas, the gender gap in primary and secondary education is closing, with two-thirds of the world achieving gender parity in primary education by 2005.
While the pace of change is slow, the report finds that the harmful practice of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) has declined over the past 15 years, and that child marriage is becoming less common.
Alongside these successes for children, Progress for Children also provides statistics that give no cause for celebration. For example:
• While the prevalence of underweight children has declined from 32 to 27 per cent in the developing world since 1990, an alarming number of children under-five – 143 million – still suffer undernutrition, with more than half of them in South Asia;
Information on the data:
The data and analysis in Progress for Children: A World Fit for Children Statistical Review are based on the ongoing work of UNICEF and its partners to monitor global conditions for women and children. They derive largely from information in UNICEF’s global databases, including data from an unprecedented number of household surveys conducted during 2005-2006, notably the UNICEF-supported Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) and the USAID-supported Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), among other data.