These 10 countries are the best at respecting children’s rights

children rights

(Charlein Gracia, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: David Elliott, Senior Writer, Formative Content


  • A new study uses United Nations data to measure how children’s rights are respected across the globe.
  • Iceland, Switzerland and Finland come top.
  • But worldwide, millions of children face extreme poverty due to COVID-19.

Of the myriad tragic effects of COVID-19, its impact on young people could prove to be one of its most damaging legacies.

The authors of a new report say the crisis has “turned back the clock” on years of progress made on kids’ well-being and put children’s rights under serious pressure across the globe.

The KidsRights Index 2020 measures how children’s rights are respected worldwide, and the extent to which countries are committed to improving them.

The data doesn’t directly include the impact of the pandemic, but the wider report, presented in the context of coronavirus, warns of the “disastrous” impact of the crisis on children.

The index finds the five best places to grow up healthy, well-educated and respected are all developed Western economies. But it does throw up some more surprising results too.

Best countries to be children
Iceland is at the top of the 2020 KidsRights Index.
Image: KidsRights

Children’s NGO KidsRights draws on data from UNESCO, the United Nations Development Programme and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to compile the annual report.

It groups 20 indicators into five areas: the right to life; the right to health; the right to education; the right to protection; and the enabling environment for child rights.

For 2020, Iceland tops the 182 nations listed, scoring well for its ‘child rights environment’, with legislation that enables child rights, a focus on the best interests of children and respect for their views. For education, it comes joint first with seven other nations,

Switzerland comes second, and top in the protection category, which looks at child labour, adolescent birth rate and birth registration. Finland – another of the joint-top nations for education – is third, while Sweden and Germany make up the top five.

Italy is highlighted for making significant progress in four of the five areas measured. It has climbed from 74th place in 2019 to 15th in 2020.

The five lowest-scoring countries are the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Chad.

children crisis kids infants young Coronavirus china virus health healthcare who world health organization disease deaths pandemic epidemic worries concerns Health virus contagious contagion viruses diseases disease lab laboratory doctor health dr nurse medical medicine drugs vaccines vaccinations inoculations technology testing test medicinal biotechnology biotech biology chemistry physics microscope research influenza flu cold common cold bug risk symptomes respiratory china iran italy europe asia america south america north washing hands wash hands coughs sneezes spread spreading precaution precautions health warning covid 19 cov SARS 2019ncov wuhan sarscow wuhanpneumonia  pneumonia outbreak patients unhealthy fatality mortality elderly old elder age serious death deathly deadly
The kid’s rights index.
Image: KidsRights

Thailand and Tunisia in top 20

But developed nations don’t exclusively perform better, according to KidsRights. This is because, rather than simply ranking the places where children have the best life, the index scores countries relative to their capacity to implement children’s rights.

So a host of industrialized nations, like the UK (169th), New Zealand (168th) and Australia (135th), sit quite far down the list, while some less developed countries including Thailand (8th) and Tunisia (17th) perform relatively well.

Looking at individual categories provides an interesting picture too. For example, in the life grouping – which considers criteria such mortality rate and life expectancy at birth – the top three consists of Japan, Italy and Singapore. In health, Portugal, Israel and South Korea top the table. And Thailand, Iceland and Tunisia are the top three for enabling child rights.

coronavirus, health, COVID19, pandemic

What is the World Economic Forum doing to manage emerging risks from COVID-19?

The first global pandemic in more than 100 years, COVID-19 has spread throughout the world at an unprecedented speed. At the time of writing, 4.5 million cases have been confirmed and more than 300,000 people have died due to the virus.

As countries seek to recover, some of the more long-term economic, business, environmental, societal and technological challenges and opportunities are just beginning to become visible.

To help all stakeholders – communities, governments, businesses and individuals understand the emerging risks and follow-on effects generated by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the World Economic Forum, in collaboration with Marsh and McLennan and Zurich Insurance Group, has launched its COVID-19 Risks Outlook: A Preliminary Mapping and its Implications – a companion for decision-makers, building on the Forum’s annual Global Risks Report.

Companies are invited to join the Forum’s work to help manage the identified emerging risks of COVID-19 across industries to shape a better future. Read the full COVID-19 Risks Outlook: A Preliminary Mapping and its Implications report here, and our impact story with further information.

Global underfunding

The KidsRights report warns that globally countries don’t allocate enough money to children’s rights, and that with governments focusing on healthcare and economies during the pandemic, the situation is unlikely to improve.

The impacts of the crisis are being felt in all areas of children’s lives, from health, development and behaviour, to education, economic security and protection from violence and abuse.

More than 1.5 billion children have been affected by school closures; boys and girls have been left more vulnerable to child labour, child marriage and teenage pregnancy; and disrupted vaccination programmes could lead to a big rise in infant mortality.

While children have not, so far, largely been affected by the direct health effects of COVID-19, the pandemic is having a “profound effect” on kids’ well-being, the United Nations says. An extra 42 to 66 million children are at risk of falling into extreme poverty.

As KidsRights founding chairman Marc Dullaert says: “Giving children the cold shoulder can be disastrous in the short, but more so in the long-term, for both the current and the future generation.”

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

EU adopts rebalancing measures in reaction to US steel and aluminium tariffs

Italy’s M.Renzi and Germany’s S. Gabriel veto austerity, ask EU leaders to endorse growth measures

Christmas spending: Who can afford not to cut?

Direction Wakanda: finance methods to make Africa a superhero continent

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

How farms are getting closer to consumers in the pandemic

Central African Republic militia leader and football executive, transferred to ICC

OECD and European Commission join forces to further support structural reforms in European countries

What’s the difference between carbon negative and carbon neutral?

‘Crimes against humanity,’ ‘war crimes’ and risk of new ethnic violence in DR Congo, warn UN experts

This chart shows the fall in coal-power plants being planned around the world

Scotland and First Minister Salmond enter the most challenging battlefield for independence: Europe

Sustainable development demands a broader vision, says new OECD Development Centre report

COP24: World sports join team UN in race against climate change

Brussels terrorist attacks: Schengen in danger once again while leaders gather Europe’s multiple broken pieces

When is Berlin telling the truth about the EU banking union?

The European Parliament wants to stay in one place

New research reveals the true extent of corruption in fisheries

Trump ostracized by his party and world elites but still remains in course; how can he do it?

This chart shows the total number of COVID-19 cases and recoveries so far

The world needs carbon-neutral flying. Here’s how to bring it one step closer

Soccer is back with strict COVID-19 rules. Here’s what you need to know

This Dutch company has devised an innovative way to deal with food waste

Parental leave: why we can’t wait a century for equal rights for women

Countries must invest at least 1% more of GDP on primary healthcare to eliminate glaring coverage gaps

This man ran across the USA to raise awareness of plastic pollution

Business leaders must now turn positive ESG talk into long-term results

Rule of Law: European Commission takes new step to protect judges in Poland against political control

Parliament adopts its position on digital copyright rules

These countries have some of the highest voter turnout in the world

Thursday’s Daily Brief: Safeguarding civilians, strengthening Ebola response in DR Congo, marking Fistula Day, updates on CAR and Syria

The US calls off globalization, targets Germany. Paris offer to Berlin comes at a cost

Humanitarian aid: €7 million for disaster preparedness in Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region

How to create responsible supply chains in the age of globalization 4.0

Scale of displacement across Myanmar ‘very difficult to gauge’, says UN refugee agency

Gaza probe finds ‘reasonable grounds’ Israeli forces committed international human rights violations

Free flow of non-personal data: Parliament approves EU’s fifth freedom

The fatal consequences of troika’s blind austerity policy

Increased levels of carbon dioxide could reduce brainpower, study finds

A day in the life of a refugee: the wait

Coronavirus response: Team Europe supports Somalia with three EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flights

A Sting Exclusive: “Cybersecurity Act for a cyber-bulletproof EU”, by EU Vice-President Ansip

COVID-19: MEPs fear impact on justice system and threat to rule of law

It will take a lot more than free menstrual pads to end period poverty

IMF’s Lagarde: Ukraine must fight corruption

Top UN political official updates Security Council on Iran nuclear deal

COVID-19 is likely to increase youth unemployment in Africa, this is how business can mitigate the damage

Bacterial resistance: the significant worldwide problem

4 views on the shape of global cooperation in the time of COVID-19

Negative inflation hits Eurozone, ECB to print and distribute one trillion euro earlier than expected

These countries are leading the way in green finance

Young migrants: Is Europe creating a lost generation?

These chefs are fighting hunger and poverty with gastronomy

Tropical Cyclone Idai affects 1.5 million across Mozambique and Malawi, as UN ramps up response

A Sting Exclusive: Disaster risk resilience, key to protecting vulnerable communities

How COVID-19 shows the urgent need to address the cyber poverty gap

Europe and UN form bulwark against ‘might makes right’ worldview, EU foreign affairs chief tells Security Council

Safety fits into our palms: The role of mobile technology in healthcare systems and life saving

Aluminium can help to build the circular economy. Here’s how

Will COVID-19 usher in a new culture of outdoor living and dining?

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