Tuesday March 26, 2019

Most Children Globally Lack Social Protection Coverage

The report highlights the impact extreme poverty has upon the lives of children and the societies in which they live. Chief of the U.N. Children’s Fund Child Poverty and Social Protection Unit, David Stewart, says 385 million children are living on under $1.90 a day.

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Children
Syrian children queue to receive food distributed by humanitarian aid workers at a makeshift camp for displaced people, near the village of Yazi Bagh, Feb. 7, 2018. VOA

A joint study by the International Labor Organization and U.N. Children’s Fund finds the vast majority of the world’s children lack effective social protection coverage. It says this dooms them to a life of extreme poverty, with negative implications for society.

The study finds only one third of children between zero and 14 years of age have any social protection. That means two-thirds, or 1.3 billion children live without a social safety net.

International Labor Organization Social Protection Department Director Isabel Ortiz says just slightly more than one percent of GDP is allocated to social protection for children. She says this huge under-investment gap needs to be covered.

Children
The report highlights the impact extreme poverty has upon the lives of children and the societies in which they live. Chief of the U.N. Children’s Fund Child Poverty and Social Protection Unit, David Stewart, says 385 million children are living on under $1.90 a day. Pixabay

“And, of course, the numbers worsen as we go by region. In Africa, for instance, children represent 40 percent of the African population overall. However, only 0.6 percent is actually invested in social protection for children,” she said.

The report finds children fare best in Europe and Central Asia where 87 percent have social protection coverage, followed by children in the Americas with 66 percent. Asia and Africa have the worst records. The report says no data is available on the Arab States.

The report highlights the impact extreme poverty has upon the lives of children and the societies in which they live. Chief of the U.N. Children’s Fund Child Poverty and Social Protection Unit, David Stewart, says 385 million children are living on under $1.90 a day.

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Stewart says this has negative implications for children, and for societies and economies as well. Pixabay

“I think one of the most striking statistics, which emerges is that children are two times as likely to be living in poverty as adults,” he said. “Now, for children it is particularly concerning because poverty can have a lifetime implication for children. You do not have a second chance at nutrition, at health care, and education.”

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Stewart says this has negative implications for children, and for societies and economies as well.

The ILO and UNICEF recommend the rapid expansion of social protection for children including the consideration of universal cash grants to children. Authors of the report say evidence clearly shows cash transfers play a vital role in breaking the vicious cycle of poverty and vulnerability. (VOA)

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UNICEF Calls For Global Action to Prevent Cyberbullying

As part of this, it is implementing programmes to leverage the internet's promise of connectivity and education on behalf of the world's children

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Cyberattacks
An employee works near screens in the virus lab at the headquarters of Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky Labs in Moscow, July 29, 2013. VOA

UNICEF on Tuesday called for global concerted action to prevent online violence, cyberbullying and digital harassment for over 70 per cent of children and young people online.

The call, made on Safer Internet Day, comes following a recent United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) poll of young people, which received more than a million responses over five weeks from more than 160 countries, and suggestions from a series of student-led #ENDviolence Youth Talks held around the world.

“We’ve heard from children and young people from around the globe and what they are saying is clear: The Internet has become a kindness desert,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.

That’s why, she said, UNICEF is inviting everyone, young and old, to be kind online, and calling for greater action to make the Internet a safer place for everyone.

According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), while 94 per cent of young people, aged 15-24 in developed countries are online, more than 65 per cent of young people in developing countries are online. This is well ahead of the pace of Internet usage among the general population. Worldwide, half of the total population, regardless of age, is online.

US Intelligence, Privacy
A specialist works at the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center in Arlington, Va., Sept. 9, 2014. (VOA)

“This online proliferation comes with increased risk,” Fore said. According to data from UNESCO on the prevalence of cyberbullying in high-income countries, the proportion of children and adolescents who are affected by cyberbullying ranges from 5 per cent to 21 per cent, with girls appearing to be more likely to experience cyberbullying than boys.

Cyberbullying can cause profound harm as it can quickly reach a wide audience, and can remain accessible online indefinitely, virtually following its victims online for life. Victims of cyberbullying are more likely to use alcohol and drugs and skip school than other students. In extreme situations, cyberbullying has led to suicide.

In honour of the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF also called for renewed urgency and cooperation to put children’s rights at the forefront of digital efforts.

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As part of this, it is implementing programmes to leverage the internet’s promise of connectivity and education on behalf of the world’s children.

“Thirty years after the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the creation of the World Wide Web, it is time for governments, families, academia and the private sector to put children and young people at the centre of digital policies,” said Fore. (IANS)