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The State of the World’s Children 2006 - CHILDREN OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND, OUT OF REACH

HANOI, 14 December 2005 – Today, UNICEF launches its annual flagship publication – The State of the World’s Children Report (SOWC) across the World. This years’ report: Excluded and Invisible calls for accelerated action in the implementation of the Millennium Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). Meeting the Goals and implementing the Declaration by 2015 would transform the lives of many children who would be spared illness and premature death, escape poverty and malnutrition, gain access to safe water and decent sanitation facilities and complete primary schooling.

UNICEF expresses serious concerns in SOWC that not enough is being done for children as hundreds of millions of children are suffering from severe exploitation and discrimination and have become virtually invisible to the world. These children are growing up beyond the reach of development campaigns and are often invisible in everything from public debate and legislation, to statistics and news stories.

“If the world continues as it is, if we go no further than ‘business as usual’, then we will fail to achieve the MDGs for everyone, including the world’s children.  Based on current rates of progress, we can see that we will fail millions of children in the developing world”, said Mr. Christian Salazar, Officer-in-charge of UNICEF Viet Nam.

According to UNICEF’s projections, by 2015

• 170 million children will have missed-out access to adequate sanitation;
• 80 million children of primary school age will not go to school;
• 70 million children will lack access to an improved water source and
• 50 million children under five years will not have enjoyed adequate nutrition as promised by the MDG’s.

UNICEF proposes three strategic areas for worldwide action:

1. A massive push towards increased access of children and their families to basic social services.
2. Longer-term initiatives that are rooted in a human rights-based approach to development. This means building the foundations of a child-friendly society through laws, policies, strategies and plans of action that are based on the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
3. Deeper approaches that give special attention to the most vulnerable children, such as children in need of special protection or children from ethnic minorities.

The State of the World’s Children Report also points out the critical situations that many children are confronted with that make them vulnerable. For example:

• Every year, 55% of all births in the developing world (excluding China) - that is more than 50 million children - are not registered. These children start their life without an identity and run the risk of being excluded from basic social services as they grow older.

• More than 143 million children in the developing world are orphans – that is 1 in every 13 children. Children who suffer the death of their parents are denied their first line of protection. Burdened by sudden responsibilities or forced to fend for themselves, many drop out of school or fall victims of exploitation.

• One in every three girls in the developing world marries before 18. Early marriage can put an end to their education and can also lead to early death if the girl becomes pregnant prematurely.

UNICEF calls upon the Governments of the World to step-up their efforts to implement the Millennium Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals and to put particular emphasis on excluded and invisible children. This can be achieved by concentrating on four key areas:

1. Research: worldwide we need better disaggregated data on children as well as more qualitative and quantitative research on causes of social exclusion, lack of protection and marginalization of children.
2. Legislation: national legislation must be reformed in line with international commitments to children.
3. Financing and capacity building: budget allocations by the State must take children’s needs and rights into account more strongly. The capacity of Government staff working for children must be improved.
4. Social Services: barriers that hamper children’s access to basic social and protection services should be removed and good service packages for children in remote locations should be developed.

Speaking at the launch of the report in English and Vietnamese, Mr. Christian Salazar acknowledged that the Government of Viet Nam has shown remarkable commitment to improve the situation of children and women and expressed appreciation for the Government’s efforts to give greater attention to children in the next five year Socio-Economic Development Plan (SEDP) 2006-2010. “I strongly believe that Viet Nam will meet most MDG’s, some even before 2015”, he said. Mr. Salazar also emphasized three areas which need intensive attention for the next SEDP:
1. Malnutrition: Child malnutrition rates in Viet Nam are still much too high for a nation which aspires to become a middle income country and which expects outstanding results in education from its children. The SEDP could still go further in highlighting an ambitious national and inter-sectoral effort to reduce child malnutrition beyond the currently proposed target of 20%;

2. As child protection problems are increasing and many previously unknown problems around violence against children and exploitation emerge, there is an urgent need to review and expand child protection policies and systems in Viet Nam. This requires a concerted effort of the whole nation and of many Government agencies which should be clearly reflected in the SEDP;

3. Given the demographic composition of the population as well as the stresses that adolescents and young people are facing during the reform process, specific policies and programmes for adolescents are necessary as well as a Government mechanism to coordinate line agencies and mass organizations in this area.

“The remarkable progress on the MDGs and the efforts to develop the SEDP 2006-2010 with a strong focus on social issues and children, once again underline Vietnam’s position as an example to the world when it comes to good governance for children”, Mr. Salazar concluded.


For further information or interview, please contact
Trịnh Anh Tuấn (Mr), Communication Section, UNICEF Viet Nam
Tel. 844 942 5706, ext 234 or

Nguyễn Thị Thanh Hương (Ms), Communication Section, UNICEF Viet Nam
Tel. 844 942 5706, ext 401 or




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