Media centre

Press releases

Media contacts

UNICEF in the News


Launch of The State of the World’s Children 2005 Report


The State of the World’s Children 2005


Childhood Years being Destroyed by Poverty, Conflict and AIDS – says UNICEF

Hanoi, 9 December 2004:  Despite the near universal embrace of standards for protecting childhood, a new UNICEF report shows that more than half the world’s children are suffering extreme deprivations from poverty, war and HIV/AIDS, conditions that are effectively denying children a childhood and holding back the development of nations.

The report stresses the importance of Governments to live up to the standards of the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child – the world’s most widely adopted human rights treaty.  Failure to do so, causes permanent damage to children and in turn blocks progress towards human rights, economic advancement and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

The global report – entitled “Childhood Under Threat” – examines three of the most widespread and devastating factors threatening childhood today – HIV/AIDS, conflict and poverty.

Launching the report in English and Vietnamese, the UNICEF Representative in Viet Nam, Mr Anthony Bloomberg, acknowledged that in Viet Nam, the Government has made impressive progress in reducing poverty and its commitment to children’s rights through its early ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child has been well documented. “Yet, inequalities and deprivations continue. The main challenge for the Vietnamese Government is to ensure that the reduction in poverty is achieved as widely as possible across all social, economic and ethnic groups so that all girls and boys in Viet Nam experience a childhood of love, protection and care,” continued Mr Bloomberg. “This means an ongoing commitment to investing in children and to properly resourcing health, water, education and social services.”

Drawing on research from the London School of Economics and the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, the UNICEF report argues that children experience poverty differently from adults and that traditional income and consumption measures do not capture how poverty actually impacts on childhood. The report identifies seven basic ‘deprivations’ that impact on children. These are: access to adequate shelter; access to sanitation; access to safe water; access to information; access to health care services, access to education and access to enough food.

In Vietnam, it is estimated that there are still -

• Nearly 17 million children ( 52 percent) with no safe water. Regional/provincial disparities exist. For example, 87.2% of ethnic minority people do not have access to clean water. (Source: Viet Nam Households Living Standards Survey (VHLSS) 2002)
• Twenty million children (59 percent) who do have access to proper sanitation. Ten per cent of children in urban areas have no access to sanitation compared to around forty per cent of children in rural areas. (Source:VHLSS 2002)
• Close to ten million children (30 percent) lack access to basic information (TV, radio and newspapers).
• Around 500,000 primary aged children (6 percent) are not enrolled in school. The majority of these are ethnic minority children, especially girls.  Only six percent of Kinh children are not enrolled in primary school (50% boys and 50% girls) compared to around sixty percent of H’mong children (of those, 70 percent girls and 30 percent boys) (Source: VHLSS 2002)
• Around two million children under five years of age (30 percent) are underweight. (Source: Results of the Child Nutrition Survey among Mothers and Children, 2002).
• Around 10 million children (30 percent) are poor according to the international poverty line. Twenty-three percent of Kinh children are poor compared with over seventy percent of ethnic minority children. (Source: VHLSS 2002).
• 1,176,000 children living in absolute poverty, 23,000 working children and 16,000 street children.
• It is estimated that there are 8,500 children between the ages of 0 and 15 years living with HIV and 22,000 orphans, who have lost parents to AIDS. (Source: MOLISA 2004)

In Viet Nam, poverty and HIV/AIDS continue to tear at the very fabric of childhood. For many children the promise of childhood, laid down in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, will not be fulfilled.  They will not inherit their right to a childhood of love, care and protection in a family environment nor be encouraged to reach their full potential. There is a risk that when these children become adults and parents, the same threats to childhood will be replicated from one generation to the next. The State of the World’s Children says it is time to put children first.

Putting Children First

The State of the World’s Children argues that bridging the gap between the ideal childhood and the reality experienced by many children is a matter of choice. It requires:
• Adopting a human rights-based approach to social and economic development, with a special emphasis on reaching the most vulnerable children;
• The adoption of socially responsible policies in all spheres of development that keep children specifically in mind;
• Increased investment in children by donors and governments, with national budgets monitored and analysed from the perspective of their impact on children;
• The commitment of individuals, families, businesses and communities to get involved and stay engaged in bettering the lives of children and to use their resources to promote and protect children’s rights.

The full State of the World’s Children, in both English and Vietnamese can now be viewed on UNICEF Viet Nam’s NEW website, which is being launched today to coincide with the launch of the UNICEF report – go to  (English version) or (Vietnamese version)- to find out more about The State of the World’s Children as well as UNICEF’s activities in Viet Nam. The English and Vietnamese website is the first UNICEF website in the world to be bi-lingual.
The launch of “Childhood Under Threat” will take place at the Hilton Hotel, Hanoi on Thursday 9 December at 10 a.m.  It will be launched by Mr Anthony Bloomberg, UNICEF Representative and Mr Phung Ngoc Hung, Vice-Chairman of the Viet Nam Commission for Population, Family and Children.

For further information, please contact:

Ms Sue Spencer, UNICEF Communication Section
Tel: 942 5706 ext 210 or 09123 391053
Mr Trinh Anh Tuan, UNICEF Communication Section
Tel: 942 5706 ext 234 or 0903 296393
Ms NguyenThi Thanh Huong, UNICEF Communication Section
Tel: 942 5706 ext 401




 Email this article

Donate Now

unite for children