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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Children of the world at risk: Who will "inherit the earth"?

With the world's children at risk for death by wars, malnutrition and infectious diesease, it's tragically necessary to ponder the quesiton about who will inherit the earth? For every child lost, there is one less brilliant person alive who could improve the human condition, given the chance to live and to do so.
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Children First!
All children deserve to live happy and healthy lives. Unicef is an international organization that works to help the world's most vulnerable children with nutrition, water, and medical supplies they desperately need. Nevertheless, sadly, although infant mortality has declined, children continue to die from preventable causes.

AFRICA
Unicef Says Its Development Goals for Children Are at Risk


By RICK GLADSTONE JUNE 27, 2016

The United Nations said Monday that its global development goals for 2030, were at risk of failure, estimating that if current trends continue, nearly 70 million children will die from mostly preventable causes and that 750 million girls will be married while still children.

The organization also projected that more than 60 million primary school-aged children will be out of school, more than half in sub-Saharan Africa.

The annual United Nations Children’s Fund report, “The State of the World’s Children 2016,” reflected what Unicef officials said were widening disparities between rich and poor areas, with some of the poorest increasingly at risk.

The officials said the 172-page report was an emphatic warning that the so-called Sustainable Development Goals created by the United Nations in 2015 might not be achieved by the 2030 target date.

The goals are a set of 17 objectives for the eradication of poverty, hunger, illiteracy, gender discrimination and other afflictions.

“The case that’s being made is that we won’t hit the goals that we’ve now set, which we only agreed on a few months ago based on progress, unless we focus on the most disadvantaged,” Justin Forsyth, the deputy executive director of Unicef, said at a news briefing at the agency’s New York headquarters.  

The report acknowledged success in reducing some symptoms of deprivation since the 1990s, including an overall drop in infant mortality rates and extreme poverty. The report noted that the poorest children in the study were about twice as likely to die before their fifth birthday as the richest.  In parts of South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, children born to mothers with no education were found to be almost three times as likely to die before age 5 as those born to mothers with a secondary education. 

Girls from the poorest households included in the report were twice as likely to marry in childhood as girls from the wealthiest. 

Anthony Lake, the executive director of Unicef, said in a written foreword to the report that such inequities “perpetuate intergenerational cycles of disadvantage and inequality that undermine the stability of societies and even the security of nations everywhere.”

The report recommended an enormous increase in how much money governments invest in education. It estimated that attaining the 2030, goal in universal education would cost $340 billion each year. 

Unfotunately, the Unicef report was issued against a backdrop of rising nativism and xenophobia among countries of the West to an influx of migrants and refugees fleeing conflict and poverty mostly in the Middle East and Africa. Mr. Forsyth said that the trend was a new challenge to Unicef and other aid organizations. “We are broadcasting our message into a world that’s more hostile,” he said.  He added that the migration trend was “driven by poverty and inequality and inequity, and unless you deal with those root causes, you’re not going to stop that huge flow of people.” 

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