#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 13°C Tuesday 19 October 2021

The numbers that show how UNICEF helps the world's poorest children

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child was signed in 1989. How far have we come?

'Bahadou 2’ school in Timbuktu. Hamssatou Touré (10), pictured in the front, and the other children are third-year students.
'Bahadou 2’ school in Timbuktu. Hamssatou Touré (10), pictured in the front, and the other children are third-year students.

UNICEF SAY THAT 90 million more children would have died if mortality rates had stuck at their 1990 level when the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child was signed.

In its State of the World’s Children in Numbers report published today, UNICEF say that “tremendous progress” has been made to address the gaps that prevent the most disadvantaged of the world’s 2.2 billion children from enjoying their rights.

  • Some 90 million more children who would have died before reaching
    the age of five under 1990 mortality rates.
  • Improvements in nutrition have led to a 37 per cent drop in
    stunting, an irreversible slowdown in growth during a child’s first
    1,000 days due to poor nutrition.
  • In the least developed countries, 81 in 100 children gained school admission compared to 53 in 100 in 1990.


A volunteer visits 24-year-old Ferdousi Begum nine months into her pregnancy to monitor her status and help plan for birth. (Pic: UNICEF)

Despite this progress, the numbers also highlight many areas where children’s rights are still being violated:

  • 6.6 million children under five years of age died in 2012.
  • 15 per cent of the world’s children are put to exploitative work.
  • In Niger, only 39 per cent of rural households have access to safe drinking water even though all urban houses do.
  • 11 per cent of girls worldwide are married before they turn 15-yeas-old.

Executive director of UNICEF Ireland Peter Power explains that it is important to keep publishing data such as this so that international Government’s can direct their aid and influence in the right areas.

“With this report, UNICEF is giving policy and decision-makers the information they need to drive change and to reach the world’s most vulnerable children who have not benefited from the progress made to date.”

Read: Threat of ‘deadly outbreak of disease’ in camps for children fleeing CAR violence >

Read: UNICEF calls for world to protect Syrian children from ‘broken futures’ >

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

Read next:


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel