June 24, 2015

Failing the world's poorest children

Millions of children have been left behind by Millennium Development Goals, according to UNICEF.

Unequal opportunities have left 600 million children living in extreme poverty, according to UNICEF. These children are chronically malnourished, twice as likely to die from preventable causes before the age of five, and are far less likely to achieve minimum reading standards. These are some of the findings of a United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

UNICEF described the report as its “final report card” on the impact of MDGs on the lives of children around the world. While “MGDs helped the world realise tremendous progress for children”, the UNICEF executive director said, “in the rush to make that progress, many focused on the easiest-to-reach children and communities, not those in greatest need”.

The Millennium Development Goals are a set of eight benchmarks that were established by the United Nations in 2000 to measure progress in reducing child mortality, eradicating hunger, poverty, achieving universal primary education, improving maternal health, combating diseases, ensuring environment sustainability and establishing a global partnership for development.

With MDGs set to expire at the end of the year, the United Nations is introducing a new set of benchmarks called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs will replace the current MDGs as the new targets for addressing global poverty, inequality and climate change for the next 15 years. The UN has called on world leaders to put children at the centre of these new goals.

So why did MDGs fail the most vulnerable children? We discuss at 1930GMT.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak to:

Jeffrey O’Malley @UNICEF @jeffomalley
Director, Division of Data & Research, UNICEF

Chernor Bah @Cee_Bah @Pop_Council
Associate, Population Council

Erin Kennedy  @ChildFund @erinrosekennedy
Director of Advocacy, ChildFund International

Munira Khalif @MuniraKhalif
Co-founder, Lighting the Way

What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.