180 million children face bleaker prospects than their parents – UNICEF

Despite progress, 180 million children face bleaker prospects than their parents – UNICEF


World Children’s Day activities in over 130 countries to provide platform for children to speak out about their concerns; advocate for children being left behind


NEW DELHI/ NEW YORK, 20 November 2017 – Despite global progress, 1 in 12 children worldwide live in countries where their prospects today are worse than those of their parents, according to a UNICEF analysis conducted for World Children’s Day.

According to the analysis, 180 million children live in 37 countries where they are more likely to live in extreme poverty, be out of school, or be killed by violent death than children living in those countries were 20 years ago.

“While the last generation has seen vast, unprecedented gains in living standards for most of the world’s children, the fact that a forgotten minority of children have been excluded from this – through no fault of their own or those of their families – is a travesty” said Laurence Chandy, UNICEF Director of Data, Research and Policy.

UNICEF is commemorating World Children’s Day, which marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, with global children’s ‘take-overs’, high-profile events and other activations of children in over 130 countries to give children their own platform to help save children’s lives, fight for their rights and fulfil their potential.

“It is the hope of every parent, everywhere, to provide greater opportunities for their children than they themselves enjoyed when they were young. This World Children’s Day, we have to take stock of how many children are instead seeing opportunities narrow and their prospects diminish,” added Chandy.

Assessing children’s prospects in escaping extreme poverty, getting a basic education and avoiding violent deaths, the UNICEF analysis reveals that:

  • The share of people living on less than $1.90 a day has increased in 14 countries, including Benin, Cameroon, Madagascar, Zambia and Zimbabwe. This increase is mostly due to unrest, conflicts or poor governance.

  • Primary school enrolment has declined in 21 countries, including Syria and Tanzania, due to such factors as financial crises, rapid population growth and the impact of conflicts.

  • Violent deaths among children below the age of 19 have increased in seven countries: Central African Republic, Iraq, Libya, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen – all countries experiencing major conflicts.

  • Four countries – Central African Republic, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen – witnessed a decline across more than one of the three areas measured, while South Sudan has experienced declines across all three.

“In a time of rapid technological change leading to huge gains in living standards, it is perverse that hundreds of millions are seeing living standards actually decline, creating a sense of injustice among them and failure among those entrusted with their care,” said Chandy. “No wonder they feel their voices are unheard and their futures uncertain.”

A separate UNICEF survey of children aged 9-18 in 14 countries also released today shows that children are deeply concerned about global issues affecting their peers and them personally, including violence, terrorism, conflict, climate change, unfair treatment of refugees and migrants, and poverty.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • Half of children across all 14 countries report feeling disenfranchised when asked how they felt when decisions are made that affect children around the world.

o    Children in South Africa and the United Kingdom feel the most disenfranchised with 73 per cent and 71 per cent respectively reporting feeling that their voices are not heard at all or their opinions do not make a change anyway.

o    Children in India report feeling the most empowered with 52 per cent of children believing their voices are heard and can help their country and that their opinions can affect the future of their country.

  • Children across all 14 countries identified terrorism, poor education and poverty as the biggest issues they wanted world leaders to take action on.

  • Across all 14 countries, violence against children was the biggest concern with 67 per cent reporting worrying a lot. Children in Brazil, Nigeria, and Mexico are the most worried about violence affecting children, with 82 per cent, 77 per cent and 74 per cent respectively worrying a lot about this issue.  Children in Japan are the least likely to worry, with less than a quarter of children surveyed (23 per cent) worrying a lot.

  • Children across all 14 countries are equally concerned about terrorism and poor education with 65 per cent of all children surveyed worrying a lot about these issues. Children in Turkey and Egypt are the most likely to worry about terrorism affecting them personally, at 81 per cent and 75 per cent respectively. By contrast, children in the Netherlands are the least likely to be concerned that terrorism would affect them directly, at just 30 per cent. Children in Brazil and Nigeria are the most concerned about poor quality education or lack of access, with more than 8 in 10 children worrying about this affecting children across the world.

  • Around 4 in 10 children across all 14 countries worry a lot about the unfair treatment of refugee and migrant children across the world. Children in Mexico, Brazil and Turkey are the most likely to worry about unfair treatment of refugee and migrant children across the world, with nearly 3 in 5 Mexican children expressing fear, followed by more than half of children in Brazil and Turkey. Around 55 per cent of children in Mexico are worried this will personally affect them.

  • Nearly half of children (45 per cent) across 14 countries do not trust their adults and world leaders to make good decisions for children. Brazil has the highest proportion of children (81 per cent) who do not trust leaders, followed by South Africa at 69 per cent. Children in India have the most confidence in their leaders, with only 30 per cent not trusting.

  • Barack Obama, Cristiano Ronaldo, Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift are the most popular names for children to invite to their birthday party, with the former President of the United States featuring in the top five in 9 of the 14 countries. Watching TV featured as the number one hobby of choice in 7 out of 14 of the countries.

World Children’s Day is a day ‘for children, by children’, when children from around the world will be taking over key roles in media, politics, business, sport and entertainment to express their concerns about what global leaders should be focusing on, and to voice support for the millions of their peers who are facing a less hopeful future.

“World Children’s Day is about listening to us and giving us a say in our future. And our message is clear: We need to speak up for ourselves, and when we do, the world needs to listen,” said Jaden Michael, 14-year-old activist and UNICEF child advocate.


Sports takeovers: In India, UNICEF celebrated World Children’s Day with the legendary cricketer and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Sachin Tendulkar as he played cricket with Special Olympics children in the presence of Justin Forsyth, Deputy Executive Director, Partnership UNICEF. The game highlighted howunified sports can be an enabler in bringing children together irrespective of gender, caste or creed and how it gives all children a platform to express themselves.  An innovate platform called India ka Scoreboard which recognizes the achievements of girls was unveiled by 14-year-old Raseel Arora on this occasion. Raseel is a participant of the Global Kids Council[1] .

Takeover of UN offices: Children also tookover the UN Resident coordinator and the UNICEF Representative’s office. The representatives were shadowed by young adolescents who took over their respective roles and reported on some of their key engagements for the day.

Parliamentarians’ takeover: Cutting across regions and backgrounds from states such as Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand, Assam, Maharashtra and Karnataka,engaged with Members of Parliament from Parliamentary Group for Children.

Digital Takeovers: Children are taking over UNICEF India social media channels (Twitter and FacebookInstagramGoogle plus). Their posts and photo with their names featured on a specially designed digital photo frame, as a profile photo on the channel.

Key findings from the India Survey include:

  • Children in India worry a lot about violence against children (70%) and poor education (70%). They sometimes worry about unfair treatment of migrant children (45%), conflict and war (39%) and natural disasters (38%)
  • Violence against children is a big concern for younger age group 9-12, where 51% of them worry about being personally affected by it
  • Indian children want world leaders to take action on Terrorism (24%), Poverty (16%), Poor Education (16%), Violence against children (10%) and Threats to nature (10%)
  • 70% of Indian children expressed trust in world leaders to make good decisions for children across the world
  • Indian children believe that their opinion is appreciated the most by their families (96%) and friends (95%)
  • Reflecting a sentiment where perhaps religion is perceived as more dictatorial then democratic, 61% of Indian children felt that their opinions were not heard or appreciated by religious leaders
  • 91% of Indian children believe the world would be a better place if world leaders listened to children’s voices

FDP pull out on trust deficit Merkel

Talks on forming a three-party coalition government in Germany have collapsed after the free-market liberal FDP pulled out. FDP leader Christian Lindner said there was no basis of trust with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU bloc and the Greens. If the FDP refuses to rejoin the talks, Ms Merkel will have to form a minority coalition or hold fresh elections. Her bloc won September’s poll, but many voters deserted the mainstream parties. After winning its first parliamentary seats, the far-right nationalist AfD (Alternative for Germany) vowed to fight “an invasion of foreigners” into the country.

Mr Lindner today said there was no progress but rather there were setbacks because targeted compromises were questioned. The parties involved in the coalition talks are reported to be deeply divided over tax, asylum and environmental policies.

Speaker Setya Novato arrested by anti corruption agency

Indonesia’s parliament speaker Setya Novanto has been taken into custody by the country’s anti-corruption agency, Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK). He was arrested over his alleged role in causing state losses of 170 million US dollar linked to a national electronic identity card scheme.

Novanto was arrested on Friday night but Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) said it delayed enforcing his detention while he received treatment for injuries sustained in a car crash the day before.

The KPK is investigating state losses amounting to about 170 million US dollar linked to a national electronic identity card scheme after allegations that sums ranging from 5,000 to 5.5 million US dollar generated by marking up procurement costs were divided up among politicians in parliament.

Saudi Arabia warns on Iran Hezbollah

Saudi Arabia warned that it would not stand idly in the face of Iranian aggression, as Bahrain said the Iran-backed Hezbollah movement was in total control of Lebanon. The foreign ministers of both Gulf states spoke at an extraordinary general meeting of the Arab League at its Cairo headquarters, called by Riyadh.

The Arab League meeting comes as tensions soar between regional arch-rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran, including over League member Lebanon.
Sunni Muslim powerhouse Saudi Arabia and Iran, the predominant Shiite power, have for decades stood on opposing sides of conflicts in West Asia including in Syria and Yemen.

Robert Mugabe vows to stay in power

Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe has vowed to stay in power for several weeks, despite mounting calls for him to stand down now. In a live television address, Mr Mugabe said he would preside over the ruling party’s congress in December. His party Zanu-PF sacked him as party leader yesterday, and gave him less than 24 hours to resign as president or be impeached. Officials say, Zanu-PF appointed ex-Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa as President.

Emmerson Mnangagwa had been fired by Mr Mugabe two weeks ago. The sacking of Mr Mnangagwa had prompted an extraordinary chain of events as the military intervened to block Mr Mugabe, 93, from installing his wife, Grace, in his place. The first lady has been expelled from the party altogether. His grip on power has weakened since the military intervened in a row over who should succeed him.

Crowds had gathered in Harare yesterday to watch the speech, with Mr Mugabe widely expected to resign. Instead, flanked by military generals, Mugabe said the ruling Zanu-PF party congress is due in a few weeks and he will preside over its processes. President Mugabe acknowledged criticism from Zanu-PF, the military and public, and stressed the need to return the situation in the country to normalcy.

Congress CWC announces schedule for election of party president

Congress Working Committee, CWC today announced poll schedule for the election of party president. It was decided during the meeting of CWC which was held at party president Sonia Gandhi’s residence in New Delhi. Notification of the party’s internal poll will be issued on 1st of next month, voting will be held on 16th December and counting on 19th.

In her opening remarks at the CWC meeting, Congress President Sonia Gandhi took on the Centre and alleged that it is sabotaging the Winter Session of Parliament on flimsy grounds. She said, the government cannot escape constitutional accountability ahead of Gujarat assembly elections by what she called locking the temple of democracy.

Giving takeaways from Mrs Gandhi’s address, party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said Parliament is the forum where questions should be asked about corruption in high places, conflict of interest of serving ministers and dubious defence deals. He said Mrs Gandhi told CWC that the government has taken the extraordinary step of not holding the Winter Session to avoid the questions ahead of Gujarat elections.

Mrs. Gandhi alleged that the Prime Minister can have a midnight celebration in Parliament to launch what she called ill-prepared and flawed GST but lacks the courage to face Parliament. She also accused the Central government of trying to change the history of modern India by erasing the contributions of Pt Jawahar Lal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.

Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, senior leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and P Chidambaram among others attended the meeting.

Sources in the party said, Rahul Gandhi is likely to be the only candidate in the fray.

The Election Commission has set a deadline of December 31 for the party to complete its organisational elections, after giving it an extension.

Government set to achieve Rural Housing Targets 

Hon’ble Prime Minister launched Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Gramin) exactly one year ago on 20th November, 2016 from Agra. A target of completing one crore new houses after beneficiary registration, geo-tagging and account verification by 31st March, 2019 was set. Of these, 51 lakh houses had to be completed by 31st March, 2018.

After the launch, it took few months to complete the process of beneficiary registration, geo-tagging, account verification etc. 55.85 lakh houses have already been sanctioned and work is under progress. Nearly 30 lakh of these houses have reached roof level of construction and 15 lakh of these houses are at finalization level. As on 20th November, 2017, 9.03 lakh houses have already been completed. It is expected that 10 lakh PMAY(G) homes will be completed by 30th November, 2017, 15 lakh houses by 31st December 2017, 25 lakh houses by 31st January, 2018, 35 lakh houses by 28th February, 2018 and 51 lakh houses by 31st March, 2018. States like Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan and West Bengal have completed a large number of houses.

New designs, local construction material, use of technology through rural mason training, geo-tagging of assets and payment directly into the account of beneficiary through IT-DBT platform have ensured transparent, hassle-free and quality programme implementation. All States and UTs are trying very hard to facilitate beneficiaries to complete their homes on time. The use of Socio Economic Census (SECC 2011), validation by Gram Sabha and use of Space Technology for geo-tagging has ensured that there are least inclusion errors and it is only the homeless and those living in one kuccha room with kuccha roof or two kuccha rooms with kuccha roof are the beneficiaries of this pro-poor programme. Technology has been used to empower the poor. The homes are designed by the best of institutions after studying the existing local design typologies and are constructed by beneficiaries as per their need. These homes are not only changing the rural landscape but also bringing about a social transformation in villages across the country. The poor are getting safe homes and can live with dignity with facilities like toilet, LPG connection, electricity connection, drinking water facility etc. The governance reforms under PMAY(G) and the impact of higher demand of steel and cement on growth is being studied by the National Institute of Public Finance & Policy, New Delhi. The Central Building Research Institute, Roorkee will undertake a study on actual use of new designs, impact of rural mason training, local materials and new technologies under PMAY(G). A study on social transformation is being commissioned separately to understand the impact of a good housing programme. The progress of PMAY(G) can be seen by any person on Awaassoft.nic.in platform with geo-tagged photographs and complete details of beneficiaries and payments made to them.