01 February 2024

Prospects for Children in 2024: Cooperation in a Fragmented World

A tale of two futures, As we enter 2024, the world stands at a pivotal juncture. We can choose a path marked by increased global collaboration – a path that embraces innovation, knowledge sharing, policy transfer, and equitable growth. Or, there's a different course that could be taken, one which might entail less unity and a more protectionist approach, potentially…, 1. Geopolitical shifts and the risk of conflict may threaten children’s survival and well-being – but avenues for accountability and cooperation hold promise., In 2024, major powers will continue competing to expand their military, political, economic, and technological influence globally, including within multilateral institutions. Meanwhile, small and middle powers, including many in the Global South, are distancing themselves from confrontation between the major powers by forging new, flexible…, 2. Economic fragmentation threatens families’ livelihoods, children’s development and youth employment – but economic solidarity, market collaboration and investing in future skills can safeguard children’s rights and futures., Economic fragmentation, often driven by geopolitical interests and strategic considerations, is projected to widen disparities between nations in 2024. This unravelling of global economic integration threatens to undermine years of prosperity, progress, and innovation. It also adds fiscal pressure at a time when child poverty is rising in many…, 3. A fragmented multilateral system is not delivering on key issues for children – but it has a chance to reset its course in 2024 through global governance and financing reforms., The year 2024 will be pivotal for addressing a fragmented multilateral system that is failing on issues such as peace, security, climate change, financing for developing countries and the enforcement of normative standards – all of which can have an impact on children and their rights. Many countries, especially those in the Global South, believe…, 4. Developing economies still face structural inequities in the international financial architecture, limiting their ability to invest in children – but reforms to lending approaches and new technologies offer hope., Structural inequities in international financing will continue to limit developing countries’ investments in children in 2024. Excessive debt burdens, high remittance costs, overreliance on unpredictable economic monetary policies, and lack of voice in financial governance penalize poorer states. Debt crises triggered by these factors hurt…, 5. Global democracy will face unprecedented risks presented by disinformation and higher levels of political violence – but positive forces, including those led by children and youth, may still reverse the democratic decline., Democratic backsliding and youth dissatisfaction with democracy have been unfolding for years. But in 2024, as many nations face critical elections, two concerning trends emerge. First, advances in the digital technology for large language models and generative AI have introduced dangerous new disinformation capabilities that can create convincing…, 6. Fast-tracking transition to green energy is reshaping critical mineral and labour markets – if managed responsibly, cooperatively and justly, it can benefit children., In 2024, the accelerated transition to green energy will continue. This transition will be driven by volatility in energy markets, growth in the deployment of clean energy technology and policy imperatives like the development of new Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). A faster shift to green energy brings significant benefits to children…, 7. El Niño, mosquito-borne diseases and water scarcity threaten children’s health and well-being – but greater collaboration, holistic programming and technological innovation can mitigate the negative impacts and protect children., Throughout 2024, climate change will continue to pose many threats to children’s health and nutrition. Three key forces stand out: the continuation of El Niño; the rise in outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases due to climate change; and water scarcity. The 2024 El Niño could be even hotter and more dangerous to people and the planet than in 2023.…, 8. Potential impacts of unchecked technologies spark fear and concern for children’s well-being – but proactive policy and global digital cooperation can place children at the centre of responsible design and regulation., The digital environment continues to shape children’s lives. Advances such as artificial intelligence (AI) bring new opportunities for children's learning, health care and development. Because new technology also poses risks for children, striking a regulatory balance will be a 2024 priority for three main reasons: First, apprehension about the…
21 December 2020

What has been solved and what is yet to be solved

“Thailand is becoming the fastest ageing society in Southeast Asia. Thailand is becoming an ageing society as fast as Japan did 25 years ago, but when Japan became an ageing society at that time, they earned five times more per capita than in Thailand,” Thomas Davin, former UNICEF Representative in Thailand who completed his term at the end of…, Child Support Grant, This cash transfer scheme was something that UNICEF has been pushing forward to the government for years, and the policy was finally approved in 2015.  “The Child Support Grant is based on the idea that children in poor families live more difficult lives, so the Thai government decided to subsidize families with children. Initially starting from…, Adolescent Pregnancy, Another success for Thailand was decreasing the number of adolescent pregnancies. “Five years ago, when I arrived in Thailand, the problem of adolescent pregnancy was of great concern. Every year, hundreds of thousands of teenagers give birth and often have to leave the education system and face various difficulties in life. Going back to school…, Children without parental care and skipped-generation families, The latest UNICEF survey with the National Statistical Office shows that 1 in 4 children aged 0-17 years in Thailand grow up without parental care. This is because their parents have to migrate for work, leaving them under their grandparent’s care. This is most common in the northeast. However, while children are developing, they need their parent…, Education Reform, Thomas said that five years ago, he found that the Thai government was very determined to reform the education system after the decrease in scores on the Programme for International Student Assessment. “This is a sign that alerts us that we have to re-design the curriculum. The curriculum must be different, and it should provide children with…, Mental Health Problems, Technology has brought new knowledge and ways of learning to children, but it has also brought on new challenges. “Young people today are going through different times, being the hope of their country… they should feel our support, they should feel safe and trusted, we should be ready to help them in their future paths.” “Youth today live in a…, Violence against children in the family and community, The 2019 survey of the situation of children and women in Thailand found that more than half of the children surveyed had been subjected to violent punishment both physically and mentally. This violence will have negative effects on children in the long term.  “But these children who have been subjected to violence have fallen out of the service…, Looking towards the future: How can we improve the quality of life for children in Thailand?, Thomas thinks that it has to start with making the development of children and youth a national priority. This must be done systematically and continuously. We must also ensure that our policies are effectively implemented and accessible to every child, especially for the most vulnerable and those who lack opportunities. “Everything that has been…
26 March 2019

Thailand’s child support grant helps vulnerable families

Apinya Sattaram, 27, has two children. The oldest is eight years old. Her second, Pleang, was born in September 2015. He is small and fragile, wrapped in a blanket with a tube taped to the side of his face. A large white scar is visible above his hairline. Pleang suffocated on amniotic fluid during labour, a condition that affects his ability to…, Child Support Grant, UNICEF worked closely with the Government of Thailand on the design of the Child Support Grant. A study conducted by the Thailand Development Research Institute, supported by UNICEF, showed that for a small child, food expenses alone range from 579 to 812 baht a month. Initially, the grant was 400 baht for children up to one year old. In March…, South-south cooperation, Another way to address these issues is through ‘south-south cooperation’. UNICEF believes that the best solutions often come from countries that have experienced, and tackled, the same problem. When developing the Thailand Child Support Grant, UNICEF looked at basic welfare schemes that had been successfully implemented in other middle income…, Monluck’s story, Another child to benefit from the Grant, Monluck, was born in November 2015. She is the third child in her family. Her father holds her in his arms on the porch of their traditional wooden house. Her mother Mhee learned about the Child Support Grant when she went to a public health centre for antenatal care. “I was so happy when I heard this news…