Prospects for Children in the Polycrisis: A 2023 Global Outlook

As the world is forced to confront the interconnectivity of risks, trends and events, will we finally prioritize holistic solutions to improve prospects for children?

Prospects for Children in the Polycrisis: A 2023 Global Outlook


This report outlines the polycrisis in which the world finds itself — multiple, simultaneous shocks with strong interdependencies, intensified in an ever-more integrated world — along with eight trends that will shape child rights and well-being in the coming year. The trends explored are:

  1. The pandemic’s harms will continue to be counted — but reforms of health architecture and medical breakthroughs offer hope for children.
  2. Efforts to tame inflation will have unintended negative effects on child poverty and well-being — requiring policy measures that protect investments for vulnerable families and children.
  3. Multiple factors will contribute to continued food and nutrition insecurity — with increasing calls for greater climate adaptation and food systems reform to prevent food poverty in children.
  4. The worsening energy crisis may cause immediate harm to children — but the focus on energy sustainability provides hope for a greener future.
  5. Unmet needs and underinvestment in children warrant reforms of financial flows to developing countries — while renewed attention on climate finance and debt relief holds promise.
  6. Threats to democratic rights such as freedom of expression are expected to continue — but social movements, including those led by young people and women, are likely to push back.
  7. Increasing factionalism will put further stress on multilateralism — but efforts to address children’s and young people’s concerns may offer opportunities to find common ground.
  8. The internet will continue to fragment and become less global, resulting in further disparities for children — prompting a greater push for openness, fairness and inclusion.
Prospects for Children in the Polycrisis: A 2023 Global Outlook
UNICEF Innocenti – Global Office of Research and Foresight
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