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Experts and leaders gather to discuss reaching the world’s most vulnerable children

UN Summit 2010
Gender and geography still play a powerful determining role in the prospects of children in developing countries

NEW YORK, 22 September 2010 – The importance of ensuring that no child is left behind, as the world pushes forward towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), is the subject of a panel discussion to be held at UNICEF House, New York, today on the perimeter of the UN’s global three-day summit on the MDGS.

The panel discussion, which will feature Slovenia’s President Danilo Turk, Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and Brazil’s Minister for Social Development, Ms Marcia Lopez, Dr. Judith Rodin of the Rockefeller Foundation, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and actor Mia Farrow, is being hosted by UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake and moderated by CNN’s Jim Clancy.

The event will seek to expand on recent UNICEF data that showed some of the world’s most disadvantaged children are not yet benefitting from progress made to meet the MDGs, and on UNICEF’s "Narrowing the Gaps" study that reveals that focusing on the these children may be the most cost effective way of providing assistance.

An equity focus

Conventional aid programming has sometimes assumed that aid and assistance should be focused on reaching the maximum number of recipients, rather than seeking out those children who, because of social status, extreme poverty or geographical isolation or gender, are the hardest to reach. The results have been considerable improvements in the lives and prospects of millions of children.

However data collected from a range of countries and UNICEF’s recent statistical modeling suggests that this may not be the most efficient use of aid going forward. The study showed that aid programs that use an equity focus to help those children living in countries with low incomes and high child mortality who are at greatest risk may result in some 60 per cent more children’s lives being saved for every million dollars invested.

Great progress has been made in many areas of child survival and development during the MDG time frame. The global under-five mortality rate has been reduced from 90 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 65 in 2008. In more than 60 developing countries, at least 90 per cent of primary school aged children are in school and each year the lives of an estimated 2.5 million children under five are saved as a result of immunisation for vaccine-preventable diseases.

Gender and geography

But gender and geography still play a powerful determining role in the prospects of children in developing countries. Children from the poorest communities in those countries are doubly at risk of dying before the age of five. They are at greater risk of the consequences of under-nutrition like stunting, and are far less likely to be registered at birth.

In 2009, one in 7 children in sub-Saharan Africa died before reaching her or his fifth birthday. Of those who survived, only 65 per cent had the chance to go to school. And around the world, girls from the poorest households are three times as likely to get married before age 18 as girls from the wealthiest households.

Panelists are expected to discuss the importance of changing this, from an ethical standpoint and also with a view to delivering the best results for children from aid.


With only five years left until the 2015 deadline to achieve the Millennium Development goals, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on world leaders to attend a summit to accelerate progress towards the MDGs The High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly will take place from 20-22 SEPT 2010 at UN Headquarters in New York. Read more

For more information, please contact:

Janine Kandel
UNICEF Media New York
Tel +1 212 326 7684,

Indra Kumari Nadchatram
UNICEF Media Malaysia
Tel +6012 292 6872,

Juana Jaafar
UNICEF Media Malaysia
Tel + 6012 530 9693,





UN MDG Summit 2010

Millennium Development Goals

Progress for Children 2010

Fact Sheets: MDGs 2010

UNICEF Reports 2010
PFC Key Facts 2010
Narrowing the Gap
Speech: Anthony Lake


About the MDGs
All about children
Children protection
Action dates

Newsline: MDGs

22 September 2010:
Reaching the most vulnerable children

21 September 2010:
MDGs, five years to go

7 September 2010:
The MDGs with equity

16 March 2010:
MDG Progress Report released for UN Summit


UN Summit Newsline

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