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This 2019 edition of The State of the World’s Children (SOWC) examines the issue of children, food and nutrition, providing a fresh perspective on a rapidly evolving challenge. Despite progress in the past two decades, one third of children under age 5 are malnourished – stunted, wasted or overweight – while two thirds are at risk of malnutrition and hidden hunger because of the poor quality of their diets. At the center of this challenge is a broken food system that fails to provide children with the diets they need to grow healthy. This report also provides new data and analyses of malnutrition in the 21st century and outlines recommendations to put children’s rights at the heart of food systems.
Keywords: HIV, children, infants, breastfeeding, malnutrition
As a record of the first year of the UNICEF Strategic Plan, 2018–2021, the report outlines efforts to protect the rights of every child, to open up new opportunities for children and young people, to become increasingly effective and efficient, and to strengthen UNICEF’s partnerships and financial stewardship.
Over the past decade, child marriage has continued to decline. Globally, the proportion of young women who were married as children decreased from 1 in 4 to about 1 in 5. It is now estimated that a total of 650 million girls and women alive today were married as children.
However, the current rate of decline in child marriage is not sufficient to meet the SDG target of ending child marriage by 2030. What's more, the reduction in child marriage has been uneven. While South Asia has led the way on reducing child marriage, the global burden is shifting to sub-Saharan Africa, where rates of progress need to be accelerated dramatically to reduce the prevalence and offset population growth.
Every Woman Every Child (EWEC), developed by PMNCH partners in 2010, brings the voice of women, children and young people to centre stage in the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) era. In 2015, the United Nations (UN) launched the EWEC Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health (Global Strategy), building on momentum under the EWEC movement’s first Global Strategy (2010– 2015) and aligning with SDGs.
Keywords: women, children, adolescents, sexual and reproductive health, human rights
Far too often, millions of uprooted children and young people are invisible in data. They face discrimination and isolation as they seek to make new lives for themselves. Many do not have access to national or local services and fall through the cracks of child protection systems as they cross borders. Indeed, data are scarce, and little is known about their health, their education, or how migration affects their futures.
Keywords: SDGs, children, young people, migrant, refugee, health
The elimination of violence against children (VAC) is a challenge in all countries and in every society, race, class and culture. It is a violation of human rights, upheld in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) which prescribes that every child has the right to survive, grow and be protected from all forms of violence. All children have the right to be respected for their human dignity, physical and psychological integrity and to equal protection.
Keywords: HIV, violence, abuse, children, sexual violence
This report from UNICEF shares new analysis on breastfeeding practices around the world and sets out key recommendations for governments, the private sector, civil society and communities in low-, middle- and high-income countries to increase breastfeeding rates. The report finds that more than 1 in 5 babies in high-income countries are never breastfed, compared to 1 in 25 in low- and middle-income countries.
Improving the health and well-being of women, children and adolescents is the greatest collective endeavour of our time. We live in a world of gross inequality and injustice, but also of unprecedented progress. Since 1990, maternal mortality — indicating deaths of women during pregnancy and childbirth — has fallen by 44%, and the death rate for children under age 5 has fallen by 53%. This progress has been achieved largely through the power of partnerships. PMNCH has worked since its inception in 2005 to forge and strengthen these partnerships.
Around the world, girls and young women are disproportionately affected by HIV. While there is limited evidence about the direct causal relationship between child marriage and HIV, many of the factors which put girls and young women at greater risk of HIV infection also put girls at increased risk of child marriage. Once married, child brides face profound health consequences as a result of their early marriage, and in some contexts, increased risk of HIV infection. There are therefore strong arguments for investing in girl-centred programmes which can simultaneously tackle the drivers of child marriage and new HIV infections among adolescent girls.
Every year 12 million girls are married before the age of 18. If progress is not accelerated, 150 million girls could be married in childhood by 2030.1 As a key driver of adolescent pregnancy, child marriage has a hugely detrimental impact on the health and wellbeing of girls and young women, who are more susceptible to experiencing complications during pregnancy and childbirth. The children of child brides are also at higher risk of poor health outcomes than children of girls who marry later. If we act to prevent child marriage now, we could dramatically improve health outcomes for millions of girls and women worldwide, and those of their children.