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Babies and mothers worldwide failed by lack of investment in breastfeeding

(1 August 2017) No country in the world fully meets recommended standards for breastfeeding, according to a new report by UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) in collaboration with the Global Breastfeeding Collective, a new initiative to increase global breastfeeding rates.The Global Breastfeeding Scorecard, which evaluated 194 nations, found that only 40 per cent of children younger than six months are breastfed exclusively (given nothing but breast milk) and only 23 countries have exclusive breastfeeding rates above 60 per cent.Evidence shows that breastfeeding has cognitive and health benefits for both infants and their mothers. It is especially critical during the first six months of life, helping prevent diarrhoea and pneumonia, two major causes of death in infants. Mothers who breastfeed have a reduced risk of ovarian and breast cancer, two leading causes of death among women.“Breastfeeding gives babies the best possible start in life,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. “Breastmilk works like a baby’s first vaccine, protecting infants from potentially deadly diseases and giving them all the nourishment they need to survive and thrive.”The scorecard was released at the start of World Breastfeeding Week alongside a new analysis demonstrating that an annual investment of only US$4.70 per newborn is required to increase the global rate of exclusive breastfeeding among children under six months to 50 per cent by 2025.Nurturing the Health and Wealth of Nations: The Investment Case for Breastfeeding, suggests that meeting this target could save the lives of 520,000 children under the age of five and potentially generate US$300 billion in economic gains over 10 years, as a result of reduced illness and health care costs and increased productivity.“Breastfeeding is one of the most effective – and cost effective – investments nations can make in the health of their youngest members and the future health of their economies and societies,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “By failing to invest in breastfeeding, we are failing mothers and their babies – and paying a double price: in lost lives and in lost opportunity.”The investment case shows that in five of the world’s largest emerging economies—China, India, Indonesia, Mexico and Nigeria—the lack of investment in breastfeeding results in an estimated 236,000 child deaths per year and US$119 billion in economic losses.Globally, investment in breastfeeding is far too low. Each year, governments in lower- and middle-income countries spend approximately US$250 million on breastfeeding programs; and donors provide only an additional US$85 million.The Global Breastfeeding Collective is calling on countries to:Increase funding to raise breastfeeding rates from birth through two years.Fully implement the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and relevant World Health Assembly resolutions through strong legal measures that are enforced and independently monitored by organizations free from conflicts of interest.Enact paid family leave and workplace breastfeeding policies, building on the International Labour Organization’s maternity protection guidelines as a minimum requirement, including provisions for the informal sector.Implement the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding in maternity facilities, including providing breastmilk for sick and vulnerable newborns.Improve access to skilled breastfeeding counselling as part of comprehensive breastfeeding policies and programmes in health facilities.Strengthen links between health facilities and communities, and encourage community networks that protect, promote, and support breastfeeding.Strengthen monitoring systems that track the progress of policies, programmes, and funding towards achieving both national and global breastfeeding targets.Breastfeeding is critical for the achievement of many of the Sustainable Development Goals. It improves nutrition (SDG2), prevents child mortality and decreases the risk of non-communicable diseases (SDG3), and supports cognitive development and education (SDG4). Breastfeeding is also an enabler to ending poverty, promoting economic growth and reducing inequalities.In 1990 UNICEF and WHO adopted the Innocenti Declaration on the Protection, Promotion and Support of Breastfeeding in Florence to ensure that all facilities with maternity services fully implemented the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding to support and encourage breastfeeding for new born infants which first appeared in a joint statement by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF in 1989 on Protecting, Promoting and Supporting Breastfeeding: the Special Role of Maternity Services. The Steps as well as the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes became the foundation for the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) in 1991.In 2009 BFHI was updated taking into account the experiences from the first 15 years of implementation and the guidance on infant feeding among mothers infected with HIV. In 2012, the 194 countries of the World Health Assembly committed to a target of increasing the global rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of life from a baseline of 37 per cent to 50 per cent by 2025. About the Global Breastfeeding Scorecard - The Scorecard compiles data from countries all over the world on the status of seven priorities set by the Global Breastfeeding Collective to increase the rate of breastfeeding. The 23 countries that have achieved exclusive breastfeeding rates above 60 per cent are: Bolivia, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Eritrea, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Micronesia, Federated States of Nauru, Nepal, Peru, Rwanda, São Tome and Principe, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Timor-Leste, Uganda, Vanuatu, and Zambia.About the Global Breastfeeding Collective - Co-led by UNICEF and WHO, the Global Breastfeeding Collective’s mission is to rally political, legal, financial, and public support for breastfeeding, which will benefit mothers, children, and society. This press release was originally published on www.unicef.org/breastfeeding  
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Children on the move from Africa do not aim for Europe, UNICEF study shows

(26 July 2017) Children on the move into Europe from Africa take the decision to leave home on their own and do not initially intend to go to Europe. For the majority the systematic trauma and abuse they witnessed or suffered in Libya caused them to flee to Europe and take the terrifying Central Mediterranean sea route, according to a new study (download right) commissioned by UNICEF and carried out by REACH. As many as 75 percent of the refugee and migrant children interviewed in Italy as part of the study, took the decision to embark on the journey alone. The journey itself can take a staggering two years or more for children. One of the key reasons children give for leaving home was violence at home but also deprivation and conflict. Child marriage was also reported as the main reason for leaving by 1 in 5 of all girls interviewed. Children’s journeys to Europe were often fragmented and their destination changed along the way.“What is striking about this study is it shows for the first time that there are overwhelmingly far more reasons that push children to leave their homes, than has been previously understood, and fewer pull factors that lure them to Europe,” said Afshan Khan UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia. The aim of the study is to provide decision makers, partners and governments with evidence on what drives children to flee their countries and homes. The interviews were conducted in the two main gateways into Europe – Italy and Greece – with a total 850 children, between the ages of 15 and 17 years old.  UNICEF Innocenti has recently begun a new research project Children and Migration: Rights and  resilience which emphasizes child rights-sensitive inquiry to explain the intricate dynamics not captured by more general research. The latest version of UNICEF Innocenti's Research Watch has also focused on child migration bringing together top world experts to discuss the research agenda for migrant and refugee children.Refugee and migrant children in Italy unanimously reported their time in Libya as the most traumatising part of their journey on land. Almost half of them (47 per cent) reported to have been kidnapped for ransom in Libya, and one in four children (23 per cent) reported to have been arbitrarily arrested and held in prison without charges. The majority come from various countries in sub-Saharan Africa but some are from as far afield as Bangladesh.“For those who did aim to come to the continent, the allure of Europe was the chance of furthering their education, respect for their rights and getting ahead in life. However once they reach Europe the reality is sadly quite different and their expectations are shattered,” said UNICEF’s Afshan Khan. Mohammad, 17, (left) from Kafuta, Gambia sits by a pond in a park in Pozzallo, Sicily, Italy, during a walk around town to take a break from their accommodations at the asylum seeker reception center, known as a Hot Spot. In Greece the survey showed that one in three parents or caretakers said that seeking education for their children was the main reason they left their countries for Europe. However the survey of refugee and migrant children revealed that lengthy procedures and confusion about their rights have led to many children dropping out of the Italian and Greek reception systems, losing out on education and exposing them to high risks of abuse and exploitation.Of the 12,239 children who arrived in Italy in the first six months of this year, 93 percent travelled alone.As outlined in the study, the profiles of children arrived in Italy and Greece vary significantly. Children in Italy tend to have made the decision to migrate individually (75 per cent of interviewed children) and are mostly unaccompanied, boys, aged 16 to 17. In Greece, children tend to have taken a joint decision within their family and arrive with family members (91 per cent of interviewed children), at an almost equal level between boys and girls, and from all age groups. At the recent G20 and G7 summits, UNICEF urged governments to take action to protect child refugees and migrant as part of its six-point plan of Action for Children Uprooted which calls for the protection of every child uprooted by war, violence and poverty. The plan calls on governments to:Protect child refugees and migrants, particularly unaccompanied children, from exploitation and violence;End the detention of children seeking refugee status or migrating, by introducing a range of practical alternatives;Keep families together as the best way to protect children and give children legal status;Keep all refugee and migrant children learning and give them access to health and other quality services;Press for action on the underlying causes of large scale movements of refugees and migrants;Promote measures to combat xenophobia, discrimination and marginalization in countries of transit and destination.(This press release was originally published on the www.unicef.org press centre)
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Quick summary of latest Innocenti Research Digest | Adolescence, #6

(13 July 2017) The latest edition of Innocenti Research Digest | Adolescence includes compelling research, resources, news and events that address the issue of gender from many perspectives that will benefit the work of colleagues within and outside of the UN, on behalf of the world’s 1.2 billion adolescent girls and boys. We are pleased to make the digest available for the first time in three languages – English, French and Spanish. This article provides a condensed selection of the research, resources, news, event, online courses included in the digest. To access the full contents of this highly useful publication visit here.LATEST RESEARCH Building the Foundations for Sustainable Development: a Case for Global Investment in the Capabilities of Adolescents, Sheehan, P. et al., The Lancet, April 2017.   Cost-benefit analyses show that global investments in adolescent’s capabilities can result in high economic and social returns. Child and Adolescent Health from 1990 to 2015: Findings from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors 2015 Study ,The Global Burden of Disease Child and Adolescent Health Collaboration, JAMA Pediatrics, June 2017.   Trends in mortality and non-fatal health loss across 195 countries, show significant global decreases in child and adolescent mortality: from 14.18 million deaths in 1990 to 7.26 million deaths in 2015. Mapping the Knowledge and Understanding of Menarche, Menstrual Hygiene and Menstrual Health among Adolescent Girls in Low- and Middle-income Countries, Chandra-Mouli, V. and Patel, S., Reproductive Health, March 2017.   Unlike other normal bodily processes, menstruation is still surrounded by widespread stigma, lack of understanding and poor sanitary practices. The Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs of Very Young Adolescents Aged 10–14 In Developing Countries: What Does the Evidence Show? Woog, V. and Kågesten, A., Guttmacher Institute, May 2017.   Very early adolescence, defined as the years from 10 to 14, is a critical time to lay the foundations for positive sexual and reproductive health outcomes. Understanding the Linkages between Social Safety Nets and Childhood Violence: A Review of the Evidence from Low- and Middle-income Countries, Peterman, A. et al., Health Policy and Planning, April 2017.   A review of 14 impact evaluations of social safety nets (SSNs) finds they have the potential to reduce violence against children, but there remain large gaps in our understanding across typologies of violence, region and programme design. Children participate in a group counselling session, at the Dagoretti Child Development Centre, in the Mutuini area of the Dagoretti division of Nairobi, Kenya. State of the Evidence: A Systematic Review of Approaches to Reduce Gender-Based Violence and Support the Empowerment of Adolescent Girls in Humanitarian Settings, Noble E. et al., Trauma, Violence and Abuse, March 2017.   This systematic review examines the evidence base for programming that seeks to reduce violence against adolescent girls in humanitarian contexts. Pathways between Childhood Trauma, Intimate Partner Violence, and Harsh Parenting: Findings from the United Nations (UN) Multi-country Study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific, Fulu, E. et al., The Lancet Global Health, May 2017.   A recent UN multi-country study in Asia and the Pacific identifies significant, often gendered, pathways that connect childhood trauma, intimate partner violence (IPV), and harsh parenting. Girl Child Marriage as a Risk Factor for Early Childhood Development and Stunting, Efevbera Y. et al., Social Science & Medicine, May 2017.   Data from 16 countries across sub-Saharan Africa confirms that girl child marriage is a risk factor for early childhood development and health.Effects of Public Policy on Child Labor: Current Knowledge, Gaps and Implications for Programme Design, Dammert, A. et al., World Bank Group, Policy Research Working Paper, March 2017.   Anti-poverty programmes have strong potential to improve schooling outcomes and reduce child labour. Financial Education’s Contribution to Girls’ Economic Empowerment: A Global Review, Singh, J. and Schneiders, M., Aflatoun International, March 2017.   Education programmes on girl’s economic empowerment are more robust when they combine financial components with social and health components, such as social education, sexual and reproductive health education, and vocational training. Download policy brief [pdf] Las Violencias en el Espacio Escolar (Violence in School Spaces) Trucco, D. and Inostroza, P., Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), March 2017.   Learning outcomes are directly affected by levels of violence in schools, with peer victimization being the main source of classroom violence. A Systematic Review of Positive Youth Development (PYD) Programmes in Low- and Middle-Income Countries, YouthPower Learning, April 2017.   This review documents the use and effectiveness of Positive Youth development (PYD) approaches in 97 programmes across 60 Low and Middle-income Countries. RESOURCESUNICEF Innocenti’s New Series of Briefs on How to Conduct Research with Adolescents – Developed by UNICEF, experts from Columbia University and the Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing, these seven evidence briefs provide a review of contemporary research methodologies for adolescent well-being in low-and middle-income countries. World Health Organisation (WHO) Guidance on Improving Adolescent Health – According to a new report by WHO Global Accelerated Action for the Health of Adolescents (AA-HA!), more than 3,000 adolescents die every day from largely preventable causes, such as road injuries, respiratory infections, self-harm. UNICEF Report on Protecting Children on the Move from Violence, Abuse and Exploitation – In 2015-2016, at least 300,000 unaccompanied children and adolescents were recorded in over 80 countries.UNESCO Recommendations to the Education Sector on Early and Unintended Pregnancy – Evidence shows that the education sector has a critical role to play in preventing unintended pregnancy and ensuring pregnant and parenting girls can return to school. Child Fund Alliance’s Review of official development spending to end violence against children – The first official development assistance (ODA) review of its kind, reveals that only 0.6% out of a total $174 billion global ODA budget was allocated to ending violence against children (VAC) in 2015 – equating to less than $0.65 per child in recipient countries. Full report, Infographic and Executive Summary are available online.A teacher playing with young girls in UNICEF supported school in Jalozai camp, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan.Young Lives’ Guide to Longitudinal Research – The Young Lives team provides insight into the methods and processes involved in carrying out a multi-country longitudinal study with young people. MEASURE Evaluation Guidelines on Best Practices for Adolescent- and Youth-friendly HIV Services – Developed by the USAID-funded MEASURE Evaluation, these guidelines are informed by a review of 13 projects offering adolescent and youth-friendly HIV services. Global Early Adolescent Study (GEAS) Toolkit – The GEAS toolkit includes research tools developed as part of an international study to understand the factors that predispose adolescents, aged 10-14, to sexual health risks. The tools include a parent/guardian questionnaire, a gender norms instrument, a vignette-based measure of gender equality, and a Health+ instrument. The Impact Initiatives’ Key Issues Guide on Research with Children and Young PeopleThis review draws on a synthesis of research outputs by the Economic and Social Research Council and the UK Department for International Development (DFID). Key insights and recommended reading are shared on: livelihoods and aspirations; mobile technology; access to education; improving outcomes in food, nutrition and health choices.NEWSCall on G7 leaders to Better Protect Refugee and Migrant Children – On the occasion of the G7 world leaders’ meeting in Sicily on 26-27 May, UNICEF urged governments to adopt a six-point agenda for action in order to protect and guarantee the rights of children as they move. The Lancet launches a new journal on Child and Adolescent Health – The newly released monthly journal, Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, publishes research or evidence-based reviews that will directly impact clinical practice or child health across the disciplines of paediatrics, adolescent medicine, and child development. Full details on how to submit a paper hereNew Guidelines for Children in the Justice System released – Guidelines for treating young people who come into contact with the justice system have been released by the International Association of Youth and Family Judges and Magistrates. Instructions cover all interventions of justice systems prior, pending or following judicial interventions.Menstrual Hygiene Day – Online resources available – On Menstrual Hygiene Day (28 May), organizations around the world promoted campaigns to raise awareness about good hygiene management for adolescent girls. A collection of campaign materials and resources on menstrual hygiene management can be found on the Menstrual Hygiene Day website.UNESCO Report on Youth and Violent Extremism in Morocco – A recent UNESCO report on violent extremism in Morocco urges national and international authorities to act jointly to prevent adolescents becoming victims of radical recruitment. Working groups made policy recommendations for addressing youth radicalization in schools and the media, providing jobs and economic opportunities, and increasing civic engagement. Call to Action on Violence and Child Pregnancy in Latin America and the Caribbean – The Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment, and Eradication of Violence against Women, known as the Convention of Belém do Pará, has launched the Hemispheric Report on Sexual Violence and Child Pregnancy.Innovative Research on Gender-based Violence (GBV) - Innovations aimed at preventing GBV were awarded special recognition by WHO and SRVI. EVENTSUnited Nations Youth-dedicated Days - In June the UN celebrates World Refugee Day and the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict. Adolescent-related UN actions and useful resources can be consulted on the respective websites. Then, 15 July is World Youth Skills Day, while 12 August is International Youth Day , focusing this year on peace building and social justice.International Society for Child Indicators Conference – This conference will discuss the latest child indicator research and implications. The theme is ‘Children in a World of Opportunities: innovations in research, policy and practice’. Organizers: McGill University, Date: 28-30 June 2017, Montreal. Registration‘Girl Up’ Leadership Summit – More than 300 girl advocates from around the world will convene for the sixth annual Girl Up Leadership Summit.Sexual Violence Research Initiative (SVRI) Forum 2017 – This forum will showcase research and innovation on sexual violence, intimate partner violence, and child abuse and maltreatment. Organizers: Sexual Violence Research Initiative; Date: 18-21 September 2017. Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil RegistrationONLINE COURSESEngaging Men and Boys in Gender Equality Programming – This e-learning course will examine concepts of masculinity, patriarchy and intersectionality. Organizers: The Global Human Rights Education and Training Centre (HREA). Date: 11 October – 21 November 2017 Registration To read the full digest with additional resources, comment and information download [here].
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Knowledge for Children in Africa: 2017 Publications Catalogue

(11 July 2017) Every year UNICEF and its partners in Africa generate a wealth of evidence on the situation of children. Knowledge and evidence are essential to informing the development, monitoring and implementation of policies and programmes for the realization of children’s rights. The 2017 edition of the UNICEF Africa Publications Catalogue provides an up-date of the most recent knowledge and evidence publications undertaken by UNICEF in Africa.This second edition of the catalogue - representing the collective knowledge produced by UNICEF Country and Regional Offices across Africa - is a joint initiative undertaken by the Regional Offices of  Eastern and Southern Africa, West and Central Africa, and the Middle East and North Africa.Health workers in Uganda's Bukomansimbi District Health Headquarters discuss progress in public health data collection via the mTrac ‘dashboard’ website. The catalogue features 287 reports and studies that UNICEF and its partners are generating on the situation of children and young people. They capture some of the most advanced work to support efforts by children and young people to realize their rights to survival, development and protection.The publications cover a wide range of topics, which are organized under the following categories:Part 1: Highlights of Regional PublicationsPart 2: Publications by Thematic AreaChild Poverty and Socio-Economic DevelopmentChild Protection Children and Social ProtectionClimate Change and Energy AccessCommunication for DevelopmentEducation and Early Childhood DevelopmentFinancing for Development: Public Finance for ChildrenHIV/AIDSHumanitarian Action, Resilience and Peace BuildingMaternal, New-born and Child HealthNutritionWater, Sanitation and HygieneYouth and AdolescentsPart 3: Publications Indexed by Country and by Addis Ababa Action Agenda/Sustainable Development GoalsUNICEF Innocenti has contributed extensively to evidence generation efforts in Africa in the fields of social protection, family and parenting support, multidimensional child poverty, nutrition and food security, adolescent well-being, violence affecting children, child internet use among other research themes.Download full catalogue in related content column at right.
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First global estimates of food insecurity among households with children

(30 June 2017) Using FAO’s Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES) to measure moderate and severe food insecurity in combination with data from the Gallup World Poll (GWP) survey, a new UNICEF Innocenti Working Paper, Prevalence and Correlates of Food Insecurity among Children across the Globe, presents the first global estimates of food insecurity among households with children under age 15, from 147 countries and four territories.  Of the 147 countries observed, 41 per cent of children under age 15 live with a respondent who is moderately or severely food insecure, with 19 per cent of those living with a respondent who is severely food insecure, and 45 per cent living with a respondent who reported not having enough money to buy food in the previous 12 months. These estimates represent approximately 605 million, 260 million, and 688 million children under age 15, respectively.To better understand how well the FIES captures different aspects of food insecurity, the study also tested FIES against the GWP food insecurity indicator (measured by “Was there ever a time in the last 12 months when you did not have enough money to buy food?”), monetary poverty and the Negative Experience Index[1]. Trends in per capita income were also measured as a determinant of food security to observe how the relationship fluctuated during the Great Recession.[Read a recent Evidence for Action blog on the challenges of measuring food insecurity]The data demonstrates that food insecurity among households with children under age 15 is most prevalent in South Sudan, with 92 per cent of households with children experiencing moderate to severe food insecurity.  South Sudan was declared to be undergoing a famine in February 2017 and only recently, thanks to human aid, is no longer classified as undergoing famine, according to a BBC report. According to the UN-backed Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), 1.7 million people in South Sudan are still facing emergency levels of hunger, one step below famine. As of May 2017, 5.5 million people were estimated in to be in food insecurity “Crisis”, with risk expected to rise to six million this month. After South Sudan, Liberia, Malawi, Burundi, and Sierra Leone have the next highest prevalence of food insecurity among households with children, each with more than 80 per cent of households with children facing moderate to severe food insecurity.  The countries recording the least food insecurity prevalence in the study were Japan, Bhutan, Singapore, Sweden, and the Republic of Korea, each with prevalence of food insecurity at or under five per cent. India represents the largest burden of food insecurity for children under 15, accounting for 17.16 per cent of all food insecurity measured across 147 countries, with nearly 104 million (For this part of the analysis, we used food security instead of food insecurity to better show the relationship) children under 15 in India registering moderate to severe food insecurity. Here, the study reveals that while the total number of children under 15 in India with moderate to severe food insecurity represents the highest burden in 147 countries and four territories observed, the prevalence of food insecurity in India is not as high compared to many other countries.Data visualization: Prevalence and Burden of Moderate to Severe Food Insecurity among Households with Children by Country View the Data Visualization.Prevalence is mapped in blue from light to dark, with greater prevalence of food insecurity indicated by the darker countries on the map.Burden is visualized for each country with a yellow bubble over the respective country, with greater burden of food insecurity indicated by larger bubbles.In the context of this study, prevalence is defined as the extent of food insecurity measured as a proportion of the population. Here, it measures households with children who are food insecure as a proportion of all households with children, for each country. Burden is the number of children under 15 who live in food insecure households in each country. This chart shows prevalence and burden of food insecurity measured by the study, clustered by region. The data demonstrates the prevalence of food insecurity in households with children under age 15 (solid blue line) is higher than prevalence in all households (dashed line). While the map visualizes burden of food insecurity in bubbles by size, this chart shows the burden by household type (with and without children).  Overall burden of food insecurity is shown by the clustered bars, with burden for households with children under age 15 (purple bars), households without children (blue bars), and the total number in millions making up the total burden for all food insecurity regionally. In all regions, prevalence of food insecurity among households with children is higher than food insecurity among all households.A woman and her children carry sacks of maize home from a small farm where they work in exchange for food, in the village of Chipumi, Malawi. The research also looks at income as a determinant of food security over time and demonstrates the relationship between household income per capita and food security (So the prevalence is among children who live in food insecure households, but the burden is the number of children U15) for all households and for households with children under age 15. The data reveal that prevalence of food security decreases after 2007 in all households following the onset of the Great Recession, while sensitivity of food security to income peaks slightly in 2008 and remains fairly constant until 2011, when sensitivity to income increases.This paper is a first step in quantifying the extent of food insecurity among households with children, on a global scale as well as regionally. It also aims to motivate continued global efforts to monitor and address progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal to end hunger (SDG 2). Further research to better distinguish between food insecurity in adults and children is needed to better address mitigating child hunger.[1] The NX Index is in the core GWP questionnaire, and is a composite measure of respondents’ negative experiences from the day before the survey, relating to five feelings: physical pain; worry; sadness; stress; and anger.
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Global launch of Innocenti Report Card 14 on children and SDGs in rich countries

(22 June 2017) The global launch of Innocenti Report Card 14, Building the Future: Children and the Sustainable Development Goals in Rich Countries, was held 15 June at the Royal Society in London. Each year the report is launched at an international event designed to promote discussion and exchange of views on policy implications for child well-being that can be drawn from the Report Card findings.
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The why and how of measuring sustainable development goals for children in high income countries

(15 June 2017) For the 14th edition of the Innocenti Report Card – a nearly annual publication ranking the high income countries of the world on a topical aspect of child well-being – our research team has chosen to take on a set of sizable challenges. We are publishing here, in full, the introduction of the Report to provide an accessible explanation of how this edition came to be. (Download the full report in English, French, Spanish or Italian here)This Report Card offers an assessment of child well-being in the context of sustainable development across 41 countries of the European Union (EU) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). This group includes both high- and middle-income economies, but here we refer to them all as ‘high-income countries’ – or ‘rich countries’, for convenience. The concept of child well-being is rooted in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) but the Agenda for Sustainable Development adds new dimensions. Progress across all these dimensions will be vital to children, and advanced economies will therefore need to monitor the situation of children and young people both nationally and globally. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed by the international community in 2015 represent an ambitious effort to set a global agenda for development that is both equitable and sustainable, in social, economic and environmental terms. The earlier Millennium development Goals (MDGs) prioritized the reduction of poverty, as well as progress in related social indicators. The 17 goals of the SDGs add to this a series of outcomes associated with inequality, economic development, the environment and climate change, as well as peace and security. In contrast to the MDGs, which primarily applied to low- and middle income countries, the ambitious agenda of the SDGs is of necessity universal; it thus applies to rich countries, as well as poor.The stronger focus of the SDGs on equitable development and on leaving no one behind also demands attention to inequalities along multiple dimensions – of income and wealth, health and educational opportunity, as well as voice and political participation – both within and between countries. Addressing rising inequality and its related problems requires a focus not just on the conditions of the poorest, but also on the consequences of wealth accumulation by the richest. As countries seek to meet the SDGs, so the changing political landscape will require new approaches to ensure inclusive and sustainable outcomes. Long-term, inclusive and sustainable social goals are best met through attention to the needs of children. Ensuring the well-being and realizing the rights of all children (including migrants and refugees) is not only a commitment made by those states that have signed the CRC, but is also an essential condition for achieving long-term development goals. Every high-income country invests in its children: healthy, educated children are better able to fulfil their potential and contribute to society. By contrast, problems of child development often carry through into adulthood, with the resulting social costs accruing to the next generation, too. Indeed, achieving the SDGs is about ensuring that future generations have the opportunities enjoyed by the present generation: successful outcomes for today’s children will build the foundations for the wellbeing of our societies tomorrow. Commitments to the SDGs made by governments now need to be translated into programmes and public investments that can deliver on this wide-ranging set of goals and their 169 accompanying targets. While many goals require commitment at the global or multilateral action level if they are to be achieved (particularly those associated with climate change and the global economy), they also demand national action. If countries are to be held to account for their progress towards these goals, appropriate indicators for monitoring that progress are necessary. UNICEF has long been at the forefront of global efforts to monitor life outcomes and social progress for children, and it now plays a leading role in monitoring child-related SDG indicators (see Box 2: UNICEF’s global role in SDG monitoring, page 6). Many of the SDG indicators proposed by the global community are most appropriate for lower income contexts. Report Card 14 proposes an adapted set of indicators to assess countries’ performance against the promise of “leaving no one behind” when national circumstances, ambitions and existing levels of social progress are already well advanced (see Box on the right: How have Report Card 14 indicators been selected?). Specifically, this report seeks to bring the SDG targets for children in high-income countries into meaningful operation (while staying true to the ambitions of the global agenda) and to establish a point of departure for reviewing the SDG framework in these contexts. It focuses on those goals and targets with most direct relevance to the well-being of children in high-income settings. Where appropriate, it adapts the agreed SDG indicator, the better to reflect the problems facing children in such countries (see Table 1 pages 4-5).Although limited by the lack of comparable data in some domains, this report compares 41 countries across 25 indicators. As in other Report Cards, countries are ranked on their achievements in well-being for children according to the selected indicators. The Report Card cannot provide an in-depth analysis of the reasons behind differences, nor of the policy options available for making progress on selected indicators. Nonetheless, by illustrating variation along key dimensions of child well-being related to the SDGs – from ending poverty to promoting peaceful and inclusive societies – it suggests areas where policy efforts or public investment may be targeted to improve outcomes, and reveals where data inadequacies still need to be addressed. 
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Global press release - innocenti report card 14

(New York/Florence, 15 June 2017) 1 in 5 children in high-income countries lives in relative income poverty and an average of 1 in 8 faces food insecurity, according to the latest Report Card issued by the UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti. Building the Future: Children and the Sustainable Development Goals in Rich Countries is the first report to assess the status of children in 41 high-income countries in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) identified as most important for child well-being. It ranks countries based on their performance and details the challenges and opportunities that advanced economies face in achieving global commitments to children. “Report Card 14 is a wake-up-call that even in high-income countries progress does not benefit all children,” said Sarah Cook, Director of UNICEF Innocenti. “Higher incomes do not automatically lead to improved outcomes for all children, and may indeed deepen inequalities. Governments in all countries need to take action to ensure the gaps are reduced and progress is made to reach the SDGs for children.”  Key results on selected SDG indicators for children and adolescents in rich countries include:End poverty: On average 1 in 5 children in high-income countries lives in relative income poverty, though there is wide variation, from 1 in 10 in Denmark, Iceland and Norway to 1 in 3 in Israel and Romania. End hunger: An average of 1 in 8 children in high-income countries faces food insecurity, rising to 1 in 5 in the United Kingdom and the United States, and to 1 in 3 in Mexico and Turkey. Ensure healthy lives: Neonatal mortality has dramatically fallen in most countries; and rates of adolescent suicide, teenage births and drunkenness are declining. However, 1 in 4 adolescents reports two or more mental health issues more than once a week.Ensure quality education: Even in the best-performing countries, including Japan and Finland, around one fifth of 15-year-olds do not reach minimum proficiency levels in reading, mathematics and science. Achieve gender equality: On average, 14 per cent of adults surveyed in 17 rich countries believe that boys deserve preference for university education, and in the majority of these countries the belief is higher among males. In ranking 41 countries, the league table reads well for those countries that frequently appear at the top of recent comparisons of human and child development – the Nordic countries, Germany and Switzerland – and less well for lower-income countries in the group, such as Romania, Bulgaria and Chile. However, a closer look reveals room for improvement across the board as all countries rank in the mid- or bottom-third on two or more goals.For some indicators – income inequality, adolescent self-reported mental health and obesity – the trends suggest cause for concern in a majority of rich countries. In 2 out of 3 countries studied, the poorest households with children are now further behind the average than they were in 2008. The rate of obesity among 11–15 year olds and the rate of adolescents reporting two or more mental health problems a week is increasing in the majority of countries. Although many countries have seen broad progress in a number of indicators, there are still wide gaps between them in other areas. National income levels fail to explain all of these differences: for example, Slovenia is far ahead of much wealthier countries on many indicators, while the United States ranks 37 out of 41 in the summary league table. Based on the results presented in Report Card 14, UNICEF calls for high-income countries to take action in five key areas: Put children at the heart of equitable and sustainable progress – Improving the well-being of all children today is essential for achieving both equity and sustainability.Leave no child behind – National averages often conceal extreme inequalities and the severe disadvantage of groups at the bottom of the scale.Improve the collection of comparable data – in particular on violence against children, early childhood development, migration and gender.Use the rankings to help tailor policy responses to national contexts – No country does well on all indicators of well-being for children and all countries face challenges in achieving at least some child-focused SDG targets.Honour the commitment to global sustainable development – The overarching SDG framework engages all countries in a global endeavor.
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14th edition of Report Card to focus on children and the SDGs in rich countries

(12 June 2017) The global launch of Building the Future: Children and the Sustainable Development Goals in Rich Countries,  the 14th edition of Innocenti Report Card series, is held this year in London, UK on 15 June. This new edition focuses on 10 SDGs considered most relevant to child well-being and uses comparable data sources on 25 indicators specifically selected to assess the status of children in high-income contexts. A composite league table summarises 41 European Union and Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries’ performance across the full range of indicators.  The global launch of Innocenti Report Card 14 is being conducted in partnership with Unicef UK and is held at the Kohn Centre at the Royal Society at St. James Park in London. The event is organized to provide a high level policy dialogue for researchers, academics, public authorities and civil society advocates. The aim is to uncover new approaches to elevating the sustainable development agenda in high income countries and to highlight the potential of the goals to assist in more equitable and sustainable approaches to child well-being.The keynote presentation at the launch is presented by Sarah Cook, Director of UNICEF Innocenti. Her presentation is followed by an expert panel moderated by Louise Tickle, an award winning British journalist focusing on social affairs. Panel BiographiesJan Vandemoortele, Independent expert. Jan Vandemoortele, PhD in Development Economics, served in various capacities with the United Nations for over 30 years. He is the co-architect of the Millennium Development Goals; a topic on which he published widely. Jan worked both in the field (Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Ethiopia, Malawi) and at headquarters (New York) with UNICEF, UNDP and the ILO. His last position was as UN Resident and Humanitarian Co-ordinator to Pakistan. He is now independent researcher and lecturer.  Romina Boarini, Senior Advisor to Secretary General and Coordinator of the Inclusive Growth Initiative, OECD. Romina Boarini is the Head Researcher of the Better Life Initiative of OECD. She leads the first OECD Project on Measuring Sustainable Development Goals and is the OECD Focal Point for the Leading for Well-Being Initiative. Romina oversees various projects at the OECD Statistics Directorate, including country reviews on well-being. Award-winning freelance journalist, Louise Tickle will moderate the expert panel at the global launch of Report Card 14. She specialises in education and social affairs investigations.  Richard Morgan, Global Director, Child Poverty, Save the children. Until March 2014, Richard was the Senior Advisor on the Post-2015 Development Agenda at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), responsible for promoting children’s rights and equity through engaging in the multi-stakeholder processes leading up to 2015. Richard was the Director and earlier Deputy Director of Policy and Practice at UNICEF Headquarters in New York from 2002-2012.Lily Caprani, Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF UK. Lily is an expert in political and communications strategy, public policy and resource mobilisation to achieve change for, and with, the world's most disadvantaged children and young people. Prior to her appointment with UNICEF she directed strategy and policy for The Children’s Society (UK). Early in her career she ran a busy caseload in a not-for-profit community law practice and worked in frontline practitioner roles in mental health and child protection. Additional current appointments: Advisory Board member for Children's Commissioner for England at the Department for Education. Advisory Council member, Safe Passage UK, Trustee, International Broadcasting Trust. 
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Ideology or evidence? What does research tell us about common perceptions of cash transfers?

(6 June 2017) A new UNICEF Innocenti Working Paper, Mythbusting? Confronting Six Common Perceptions about Unconditional Cash Transfers in Africa, summarizes evidence on six common assumptions about cash transfer programmes in Africa. The paper uses data from eight in-depth evaluations conducted on large government-run unconditional cash transfer projects in sub-Saharan Africa, under the Transfer Project. The arguments supporting unconditional cash transfer programming for poor households in developing countries are numerous. Evidence shows cash transfers are effective in reducing poverty and also have widespread social and economic benefits – often larger than traditional forms of development assistance. An increasing body of evidence also shows that cash transfers may provide protection during humanitarian crises, as reflected in the high-level commitments at the World Humanitarian Summit, and the Grand Bargain.Despite their widening application, and growing robust evaluation-evidence base, some skeptical policymakers cite anecdotal evidence that cash is wasted or mis-used. Others claim that beneficiaries use cash to purchase alcohol or tobacco, or that cash transfers create dependency or make beneficiaries lazy. Doubts have also been expressed regarding the cost of financing such programmes, along with fears that beneficiary households will decide to increase fertility in an effort to qualify for benefits (particularly in child-grant models).According to the Transfer Project: “These narratives influence public perception of cash transfers and can play an important role in the political and social acceptability of financing, piloting and scaling up such programmes. What does the evidence say about these and other perceptions and claims around cash transfers? Are these anecdotes actually representative of systematic behaviour by programme recipients within large-scale, representative surveys?”Making use of data drawn from eight rigorous evaluations on large-scale government unconditional cash transfer in sub-Saharan Africa, conducted by the Transfer Project, the new working paper summarizes evidence on six common perceptions about cash transfer programmes targeted to poor and vulnerable households. Namely that cash transfers:  Induce higher spending on alcohol or tobacco;Are fully consumed (rather than invested);  Create dependency (reduce participation in productive work); Increase fertility; Lead to negative community-level economic impacts (including price distortion and inflation); and Are fiscally unsustainable. “We present evidence refuting each of these claims. We complement our evidence with summaries of other review papers and prominent literature, which has examined these questions, both in sub-Saharan Africa, and globally. We conclude that these perceptions are myths, and that they present a distorted picture of the potential benefits of these programmes,” say the authors of the new UNICEF Innocenti ‘Mythbusting’ working paper. Since such mis-perceptions often affect policy debates, they can unjustifiably limit the range of policy options low- and middle-income country governments have at their disposal to accelerate poverty reduction. The paper concludes by suggesting areas for future research on topics that are insufficiently studied, and calls for stakeholders to keep in mind the growing evidence base when informing programming and resource allocation, instead of relying on dated studies with little applicability to current programming, as well as on anecdotes, opinion or speculation. Efforts are required by all actors to ensure that ideology does not outweigh evidence. 
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