The life prospects of children trapped in intergenerational cycles of poverty and disadvantage might seem like a matter of chance – an unlucky draw in a lottery that determines which children will live or die, which have enough to eat, can go to school, see a doctor or play in a safe place.
But while children’s origins are largely a matter of fate, the opportunities available to them are not. They are the result of choices – choices made in our communities, societies, international institutions and, most of all, our governments.
We know that the right choices can change the lives of millions of children – because we have seen it. National action, new partnerships and global commitments have helped drive tremendous – even transformational – change. Children born today are significantly less likely to live in poverty than those who were born 15 years ago. They are over 40 per cent more likely to survive to their fifth birthday and more likely to be in school.
But far too many children have not shared in this progress.
Reaching these forgotten children must be at the centre of our efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, which pledge to leave no one behind. The 2030 goals cannot be reached if we do not accelerate the pace of our progress in reaching the world’s most disadvantaged, vulnerable and excluded children.
Unless we act now, by 2030:
- Over 165 million children will live on no more than US$1.90 a day – 9 out of 10 will live in sub-Saharan Africa.
- Almost 70 million children under the age of 5 will die of largely preventable causes – and children in sub-Saharan Africa will be 10 times as likely to die as those from high-income countries.
- More than 60 million children aged 6 to 11 will be out of school – roughly the same number as today.
- 750 million women will have been married as children. Read more