Nearly two-thirds of children lack access to welfare safety net, risking ‘vicious cycle of poverty’

Photo: UNICEF/Wathiq Khuzaie A joint ILO-UNICEF report is urging action to ensure that social protection reaches all children, like 6-year-old Mustafa who works with his father in an industrial area of Baghdad, and protects them from poverty and deprivation.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


More than six in 10 children globally lack access to social protection, leaving them particularly vulnerable to falling into chronic poverty, the UN said on Wednesday, warning also that some governments are cutting State cash entitlements, amid continuing economic uncertainty.

In a joint report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), data shows that although a welfare safety net exists for 35 per cent of youngsters overall, that figure drops to 28 per cent in Asia and just 16 per cent in Africa.

When Member States ratified the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, agreed in 2015 with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, they agreed to the global initiative’s top priority, namely eradicating poverty.

State benefits play vital role in preventing poverty

State benefits from public funds, in the form of cash grants, “play a vital role in breaking the vicious cycle of poverty and vulnerability”, the report insists. Of 139 countries covered by the report, on average, they spend 1.1 per cent of their wealth on children up to 14 years old.

“There is a huge underinvestment gap that needs to be covered,” said Isabel Ortiz, Director of the Social Protection Department at ILO. “The numbers worsen by region. In Africa, for instance, children represent 40 per cent of the African population overall, but only 0.6 per cent is actually invested in social protection for children.”

According to the joint ILO/UNICEF report, one in five children globally lives in extreme poverty – defined as less than $1.90 a day – and almost one in two lives in “moderate” poverty, under $3.20 a day.

Children are twice as likely as adults to live in extreme poverty, the report continues, with lack of access to education and poor nutrition among the most significant long-term impacts.

“While social protection cash transfers are vital for children, they shouldn’t stand alone,” said David Stewart, Chief of Child Poverty and Social Protection Unit at UNICEF. “They have to be combined with other services – if a child is living in a household with sufficient resources and if they don’t have access to educational health, it doesn’t make a big difference. So, it’s about combining these interventions together.”

All countries have to resources to support children

In addition to the call for governments to invest in universal health coverage and tackle other issues including child labour, the UN report maintains that such measures are not a “privilege” of wealthy States.

A number of developing countries have achieved, or nearly achieved, universal social protection, it maintains. These include Argentina, Brazil, Chile and South Africa. In Mongolia, which has also achieved universal social protection for children, austerity measures threaten these gains however.

“Recently, due to fiscal pressures from international financial institutions, they have been advising the Government to target the universal benefit, Ms. Ortiz explained. “So it’s one of these cases where fiscal consolidation or austerity short-term…may be having long-term impacts on children. So the UN message is to try to look at the longer-term.”

Improving all children’s lives ‘is an issue of political will’

“Child poverty can be reduced overnight with adequate social protection,” Ms. Ortiz said, adding that improving the lives of all children “is an issue of priorities and political will – even the poorest countries have fiscal space to extend social protection”.

Highlighting China’s success in achieving universal health and pension coverage in just four years, is an example of what can be done. The ILO official maintained that “ultimately, the extension of social protection is always about Government’s will. It is because a Government realizes about the important developmental impacts of protecting people, particularly those that are vulnerable, across the lifecycle, so in times of childhood, in old age, in times of maternity, protections are particularly needed.”

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Reducing deforestation means getting serious about environmental crime

The company of the future must do well by doing good

Afghanistan: top UN official denounces ‘extreme’ suffering of civilians in Ghazni

Pandemic and mental health: what to do in this context?

This brewery is ditching plastic six-pack rings to save marine life

Tourism and transport: Commission’s guidance on how to safely resume travel and reboot Europe’s tourism in 2020 and beyond

Do we need a new Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after COVID-19?

Our food system is no longer fit for the 21st century. Here are three ways to fix it

Music is a vital urban resource. How do we plan for it?

It’s people, not technology, that will decide the future of work

‘Growing alarm’ over Fall Armyworm advance, with cash crops ‘under attack’ across Asia

Top UN official urges Russia and Ukraine to step away from further confrontation at sea

IMF: How To Deal With Failed Banks

Somalia: UN urges steps to ensure future elections not ‘marred’ by rights abuses seen in recent polls

A sterilised EMU may lead to a break up of Eurozone

Costa Rica has doubled its tropical rainforests in just a few decades. Here’s how

Migrant caravan: UN agency helping ‘exhausted’ people home

Here are 4 tips for governing by design in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

4 ways the way we make things can change for a sustainable world

The European Parliament launches a website on European election results

10 predictions for the global economy in 2019

Migrants and refugees are being forgotten in the COVID-19 response. This has to change

UN pushes for universal health care on International Day

Not much of a help the new EU Directive on pensions

EU Budget 2019: MEPs increase funding on youth, migration and research

Amid troop build-up in Rohingya’s home state, UN appeals to Myanmar for peaceful solution

Copyright: MEPs update rules for the digital age

JADE Romania Celebrates the 4th Anniversary

2,300 migrant children in Central American ‘caravan’ need protection, UNICEF says

Statement by President Tajani on US steel and aluminium duties

The ECB accuses the politicians of inaction, continues injecting billions to banks

The eyes of Brazil and the world turn to the largest rainforest and largest biodiversity reserve on Earth #PrayForAmazonia.

COP25: Support business efforts to tackle climate change, urges Guterres

Women-Friendly Spaces for Rohingya refugees: A place for protection and care

Nine children killed or maimed in Afghanistan every day: UN Children’s Fund

Protecting whistle-blowers: new EU-wide rules approved

Charlie’s tragedy energized deeper feelings amongst Europeans; back to basics?

Skills, not job titles, are the new metric for the labour market

Direction Wakanda: finance methods to make Africa a superhero continent

‘The welfare of the Libyan people’ the UN’s sole agenda for the country, says Guterres in Tripoli

From diamonds to recycling: how blockchain can drive responsible and ethical businesses

The Parliament sets the way for the European Banking Union

Teenage girl’s death sentence spotlights Sudan’s failure to tackle forced marriage, gender-based violence – UN rights office

This heroic doctor is waging war on rape and the stigma around it

Questions & Answers on the coordination of measures restricting free movement in the European Union related to the coronavirus pandemic

How dearly will Germany pay for the Volkswagen emissions rigging scandal

Syria: UN food relief agency ‘doing everything we can’ to reach Idlib civilians

European Youth Forum and youngest MEPs call on President Juncker to keep his promise to Europe’s youth

6 ways countries can prepare for the next infectious disease pandemic

Ecofin: ‘The Friday battle’ for the banking union

Bank resolutions set to remain a national affair

The Junior Enterprise concept: Business & Education

7 ways to break the fast fashion habit – and save the planet

Coronavirus fears may have driven over 300,000 UK smokers to quit

These are the countries that eat the most meat

Commission reports on the risks of investor citizenship and residence schemes in the EU and outlines steps to address them

The health of the human being in coexistence with a transformative biosphere

Quality education an ‘essential pillar’ of a better future, says UN chief

IFMSA and IPSF on the Health of Migrants and Refugees

International community has achieved unprecedented success fighting offshore tax evasion

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s