Progress for children beyond averages: learning from the mdgs

July 14, 2015

UNICEF has launched the 11th edition of its flagship Progress for Children report. The report uses the latest available data to show not only where global and regional gains have been exceptional and gaps have narrowed, but also where disparities have remained unchanged or widened since 1990.

In presenting achievements over the MDG period and the challenges children still face, Progress for Children spotlights where attention and action must now be aimed in order to reach the most vulnerable children and achieve sustainable growth. It reveals inequities that – while not surprising – can no longer be ignored, including:  

  • Children from the poorest households are two times as likely to die before their fifth birthday as children from the richest households.
  • Children from the poorest households are far less likely to achieve minimum learning standards than those from the richest across regions.
  • In most sub-Saharan African countries, girls from the poorest households remain most disadvantaged in terms of school participation.
  • Adolescent girls are disproportionally affected by HIV, accounting for nearly two thirds of all new HIV infections among adolescents in 2013. 

This edition of Progress for Children comes at a crucial time of global change. As nations set a course for the next development agenda, Progress for Children provides a road map for reaching the children left behind, with a focus on action from policy makers, development professionals, donors and national statistics officers. 

The report shows that unless we accelerate current rates of progress, millions more children will be left behind at the end of the next era of development. In education, for example, with population growth in lower-performing regions, there will be little reduction in the number of children out of school in 2030 as today. Current rates of decline in stunting will still leave 119 million children stunted by 2030. And, if we continue on the current path, half a billion people will still be practicing open defecation 15 years from now.