The state of the World's children 2016: a fair chance for every child

The state of the World's children 2016: a fair chance for every child

Every child has the right to health, education and protection, and every society has a stake in expanding children’s opportunities in life. Yet, around the world, millions of children are denied a fair chance for no reason other than the country, gender or circumstances into which they are born. The State of the World’s Children 2016 argues that progress for the most disadvantaged children is not only a moral, but also a strategic imperative. Stakeholders have a clear choice to make: invest in accelerated progress for the children being left behind, or face the consequences of a far more divided world by 2030.

The report begins with the most glaring inequity of all – disparities in child survival – and goes on to explore the underlying determinants of preventable child mortality. It argues that to meet the 2030 child survival target, we must urgently address persistent disparities in maternal health, the availability of  skilled birth attendants, adequate nutrition and access to basic services, as well as other factors such as discrimination, exclusion and a lack of knowledge about child feeding and the role of safe water, adequate sanitation and hygiene in preventing childhood disease.

The discussion continues with a look at one of the most effective drivers of development and the greatest equalizer of opportunity: education. Without quality education, disadvantaged children are far more likely to be trapped as adults in low-skilled, poorly paid and insecure employment, preventing them from breaking intergenerational cycles of disadvantage. But a greater focus on early childhood development, on increasing education access and quality, and on providing education in emergencies will yield cascading benefits for both this generation and the next.

Having discussed two of the most glaring deprivations children face, this report then examines child poverty in all its dimensions – and the role social protection programmes play in reducing it. Arguing that child poverty is about more than income, it presents a case for combining measures to reduce income poverty with integrated solutions to the many deprivations experienced by children living in poverty.

Finally, as a call to action, the report concludes with a set of principles to guide more equity-focused policy, planning and public spending. These broad principles include expanding information about who is being left behind and why; improving integration to tackle the multiple dimensions of deprivation; fostering and fuelling Innovation to reach the hardest-to-reach children; increasing investment in equity-focused programmes; and driving involvement by communities and citizens around the world.

 

 

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