Helsinki/ Florence, 18 October 2006 - The Innocenti Social Monitor 2006: Understanding Child Poverty in South-Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States released today in Helsinki, Finland finds that while the number of children under 15 living in extreme poverty has decreased from 32 million to 18 million, stark disparities in child well-being and opportunities exist.
"In spite of positive economic recovery of the Region, 1 in 4 children is still living in extreme Poverty; Children Face higher risks of being poor than adults.Income poverty and deprivation have a distinct impact on children. They affect their immediate present and compromise their long term development" said Marta Santos Pais, Director of the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, during the presentation of the Social Monitor Report.
The report finds that disparities in child well-being have increased, both between countries and within countries, with a widening gap in the access and quality of social services.
"Child poverty should be the number one concern of governments in the region" said Maria Calivis, UNICEF Regional Director for CEE/CIS Countries."Children continue to be placed in institutions, the numbers are not decreasing, and this despite a sharp decline in the birth rate. The future of the region is inextricably bound to the well-being of children. If the true potential of all these countries is to be achieved, there must be adequate investment in services for children," she added.
The launch in Finland was chaired by the Ms. Vappu Taipale, Director General of the Finnish National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health (STAKES) who congratulate the importance of the Unicef Research contribution on Child Poverty and call for a permanent inclusion of Children in the Political agenda. Ms. Taipale, reminded in her opening statement that, "In 1947 I went to first grade and received shoes from UNICEF. I'm a living proof of how things can be improved in one generation".