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UNICEF Calls for More Child Focused Policy Corrections to Address Child Poverty in the Country

SKOPJE, 20 November 2007: On the occasion of the 18th Anniversary of the adoption of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, UNICEF office in Skopje launched two new reports - Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey and Child Poverty Study - highlighting the growing level of child poverty in the country.

“The situation in both monetary and non-monetary terms is critical,”said UNICEF Country Representative, Ms Hongwei Gao. “It is not acceptable to witness and allow child poverty to continue to increase, particularly since the country, in all aspects of development, is improving and moving towards EU membership.”

The two reports supported by UNICEF highlight that the moderate economic growth achieved in the country has not translated into equally improved living standards for the entire population. Data demonstrate an alarming trend of incremental increase in the proportion of households with children who are poor, rising from 49.3 percent in 2002 to 66.6 percent in 2005. Furthermore, many children in the country especially from ethnic minorities and other socially excluded groups, are still not accessing basic rights to education, health care, social protection and participation – a situation that will have dire consequences for these children and for country’s longer-term stability and regional competitiveness.
In his address, the Minister of Labour and Social Policy Mr. Ljupco Meskov highlighted the government’s commitments to address the situation. The EU Special Representative and Head of Delegation of the European Commission, Mr. Erwan Fouere indicated that EU financial assistance, including IPA funds, provide an opportunity to increase the level of investment in children.

Under the title Understanding Child Poverty: Ensuring all children have equal opportunities to reach their potential as adult EU citizens, presentations where made by Ms. Blagica Novkovska, Director of the State Statistical Office, on the situation in the country; Ms. Lina Kostarova Unkovska, Member of the Child Poverty Study Research Team on the system challenges and policy implications; and, EU expert on child poverty,  Mr. Eric Marlier, Chair of the EU Task Force on Child Poverty and Child Wellbeing on the growing importance of child poverty in the European Union.

Notes to the editor:

• The discussion on child poverty coincides with the 18th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC), an international treaty created to set the ground rules for a better life for all children.  The rights it identifies include the right to survival, the right to be protected from harmful influences, abuse and exploitation, and the right to participate fully in family, cultural and social life.  Today is also the day when the first of the generation of children born after the creation of the treaty reach adulthood.

• UNICEF defines child poverty in terms of deprivations of the material, spiritual and emotional resources needed to survive, develop and thrive leaving them [children] unable to enjoy rights, achieve their full potential or participate as full and equal members of society.  As such when measuring child poverty, deprivations in non-monetary terms such as in health, education, protection are also measured in addition to income poverty.

The two reports launched during the Child Poverty discussion were:

1. The Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) which was carried by the State Statistical Office in cooperation and with technical and financial support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The survey was conducted as part of the third round of MICS surveys (MICS3), carried out around the world in more than 50 countries, in 2005-2006. Survey tools were based on the models and standards developed by the global MICS project, designed to collect information on the situation of children and women in countries around the world. To download MICS click here

2. Child Poverty Study which was commission by UNICEF and carried out by a team of local experts.  The study aims to shed light on the complex issues of child poverty and social exclusion in the country and to deepen the understanding of determinants and recent trends. It provides critical information for the development of evidence based policy corrections. To download Child Poverty Study click here 




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