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UNICEF’s Latest Data Reveal Disparities, Show Need to Innovate to Advance Children’s Rights

© UNICEF Mali / 2013 / Dicko

As 25th anniversary of children’s rights convention approaches, vast progress made but reaching unreached children will require sharper focus on disparities, new report says


BAMAKO, 30 January 2014 – Declaring that 'every child counts', UNICEF today urged greater effort and innovation to identify and address the gaps that prevent the most disadvantaged of 2,865,000 Malian children from enjoying their rights. The children's agency, in a report released today, highlights the importance of data in making progress for children and exposing the unequal access to services and protections that mars the lives of so many.
“Solid, reliable data show us how far we have come, and where we need to go. They make change possible by providing an evidence base for action, investment and accountability,” said Gianfranco Rotigliano, UNICEF Mali Representative.  “Behind figures, there are children’s lives. Revealing disparities allows us to understand the barriers Malian children confront, and design and monitor initiatives that make it possible to overcome them.”
Tremendous progress has been made since Mali signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1989. UNICEF's flagship report, The State of the World's Children 2014 in Numbers shows that between 1990 and 2012, there is a 49% reduction of under-5 mortality rate in Mali. In large measure, this is because of progress in delivering immunizations, health, and water and sanitation services.Globally Mali has the 8th highest mortality rate for children under five, with 128 deaths for every 1,000 live births.
Even so, the statistics in the report, titled "Every Child Counts: Revealing disparities, advancing children's rights," also bear witness to ongoing violations of children's rights. For example, the birth registration rate is 81%, which means 19% of children are effectively denied an identity and deprived of services and protections that are theirs by right. Data also reveal inequities, showing the gains of development are unevenly distributed. Indeed, 96% of the richest children – but only 65% of the poorest ones – are registered at birth in Mali.

Overcoming exclusion begins with inclusive data. Innovations in data collection, analysis and dissemination are making it possible to disaggregate data by such factors as location, wealth, sex, and ethnic or disability status, to include children who have been excluded or overlooked by broad averages. "The tools of collection and analysis are constantly being modified – and new ones are being developed. This will require sustained investment and commitment," the report says.

Revealing disparities and violations of rights does not, in itself, change the world. It makes change possible – by identifying needs, supporting advocacy, and gauging progress. UNICEF is inviting decision-makers and the general public to access and use its statistics - at - to drive positive change for children.


Broadcasters:  A video news story is available at

To read The State of the World’s Children 2014 In Numbers: Every Child Counts - Revealing disparities, advancing children’s rights and to see additional multimedia material, please visit: 

Much of what is known about the situations of children comes from household surveys, and in particular the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS). Designed and supported by UNICEF, MICS are conducted by national statistical authorities. More :
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.

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Press release
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