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.”

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

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

The European Brain Drain: a truth or a myth?

EU Parliament: No EU-US trade agreement without safe data

Harnessing the power of nature in the fight against climate change

DR Congo: Restore internet services as ‘a matter of urgency’, urges UN expert

‘Score a goal’ for humanity, says Mohammed, celebrating winning link between sport and development

5 ways to fast-track the transition to a carbon neutral world

19th EU-China Summit: A historical advance in the Chino-European rapprochement

IMF: Sorry Greece it was a mistake of 11% of your GDP

Nicaragua: MEPs condemn brutal repression and demand elections

Caravan of Mothers of Missing Migrants kick off a global migration search movement

Parliament cuts own spending to facilitate agreement on EU budget

What the world will look like after the Iran and 5+1 deal; the US emerges as major power broker in Middle East

UN, African Union make significant joint commitment to global health

At UN, Somalia’s President spotlights country’s progress, but cautions eradicating terrorism ‘will not be easy’

Will the French let Macron destroy their party political system?

EU Council: The US airlines may freely pollute the European air

The German banks first to profit from public subsidies of trillions

How digital remittances can help drive sustainable development

Why exchange programs are essential for the medical students of the 21st century

‘Catastrophic’ healthcare costs put mothers and newborns at risk

Thousands of Syrians in ‘life and death’ struggle amid harsh conditions in remote desert camp, UN warns

Yemen conflict: ‘Fragile’ hopes rise, as violence decreases and life-saving humanitarian funding surges

MEPs demand Bulgaria’s and Romania’s swift accession to Schengen area

Let Nagasaki remain ‘the last city’ to suffer nuclear devastation says museum director, as UN chief arrives

The Fourth Industrial Revolution needs a social revolution, too. Here’s how we can make this happen

Facebook-Cambridge Analytica: MEPs demand action to protect citizens’ privacy

Women’s empowerment ‘essential to global progress’ says Guterres, marking International Day

MWC 2016 LIVE: Mobile World Congress shows off planes, trams and automobiles

The financial sector cripples Eurozone growth prospects

UN chief pays tribute to Egypt’s role in avoiding ‘dramatic’ escalation in conflict across the Gaza-Israel border

Antitrust: Commission imposes interim measures on Broadcom in TV and modem chipset markets

Tobacco-free Public Space in Africa’s Most Populous Country

London wants new skyscrapers to protect cyclists from wind tunnels

The banks first to benefit from the new euro trillion ECB plans to print

‘Unconscionable’ to kill aid workers, civilians: UN Emergency Coordinator

The EU adopted €297 million in concrete actions for refugees and local communities in Jordan and Lebanon

Parmesan cheese on shelves in Italy (Copyright: European Union, 2014 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Daniela Giusti)

CETA at risk again: Italy says it won’t ratify EU-Canada trade deal over product protection fears

What cryptocurrencies will do to the integrity of politics

From Kenya to China, here’s why countries should start working together on AI

How smart tech helps cities fight terrorism and crime

‘Three-country crisis’ across central Sahel puts whole generation at risk, warns UN food agency

Where will evolution take us in the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

How video games can reunite a divided world

Overseas investment falling, developing countries largely unscathed: UN trade agency

How to unleash the enormous power of global healthcare data

Superconductors: the miracle materials powering an energy revolution

How a more integrated approach could help to end energy poverty

World Summit Awards 2016: Sustainable impact through digital innovation

The end of the 404? Why we need to repair the internet’s crumbling infrastructure

ECB’s €1.14 trillion again unifies Eurozone; Germany approves sovereign debt risks to be pooled

UN launches ‘South-South Galaxy’ knowledge-sharing platform in Buenos Aires

250+ senior claims leaders under one roof, exchanging transformation strategy

Syrians ‘exposed to brutality every day’ as thousands continue fleeing ISIL’s last stand

Syrian Government’s ‘different understanding’ of UN role, a ‘very serious challenge’ – Special Envoy

Preserving biodiversity vital to reverse tide of climate change, UN stresses on International Day

Commission presents ways to further strengthen the euro’s global role

Switzerland to favour EU citizens in immigration quotas as the risk of a new referendum looms

The India–U.S. trade dispute and India’s evolving geopolitical role

TTIP wins Merkel’s endorsement ahead of 2016 tough deadline

Commission criticised member states on blocking financial transaction tax

More Stings?

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