One in 12 children worldwide live in countries where they face far bleaker prospects than 20 years ago, according to a UNICEF report released Monday to coincide with World Children’s Day.
According to the analysis, a drop in quality of life was clear in 37 countries, and driven by factors such as conflict, financial crises and poor governance.
“While the last generation has seen vast, unprecedented gains in living standards for most of the world’s children, the fact that a forgotten minority of children have been excluded from this — through no fault of their own or those of their families — is a travesty,” Laurence Chandy, UNICEF director of data, research and policy, said.
The UNICEF analysis looked at children’s chances of escaping extreme poverty, accessing education and avoiding violent death. South Sudan, which has been plagued by civil war, was the only country where children fared worse than the previous generation in all three categories.
Violent deaths among children below the age of 19 climbed in seven countries, including the Central African Republic, Libya, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen — all hit by major conflicts. A drop in primary school enrolment was recorded in more than 20 countries, including Syria and Tanzania, while extreme poverty increased in 14 countries.
The report’s release coincides with World Children’s Day, which marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.