Centering Development Around the World’s Children

Ian MatthewsNews, News Around Global Health

WHO, UNICEF & Lancet report asks whether we’re developing a world fit for future children

This year, the global agenda on child health was reignited by an urgent report and call to action by WHO, UNICEF and The Lancet on the importance of keeping child health at the center of all development activities, in order to achieve sustainable progress towards the SDGs.

The report evaluated countries on a dual criteria of a child flourishing index, evaluating how countries offer children the opportunity to survive and thrive, and carbon emissions relative to 2030 targets, insofar as they threaten future children via climate change (see image below). Researchers reported that “No single country provides the conditions to both support children to live healthy lives today and provide an environment fit for their future.”  

Other key takeaways from the report include:

  • A rapidly changing climate, mass commercial marketing of harmful products like sugar, fast food, tobacco and alcohol, and growing inequities are some of the most pressing threats to the health and rights of all children and adolescents.
  • Investing in a child’s health, development and environment bring benefits throughout life, and across generations; when we invest in children, we invest in the future.
  • The report calls on governments, civil society, communities and young people around the world to join a global movement that puts child and adolescent health at the center of the SDGs.
  • The only way to promote children’s health and development and protect their rights is by taking strong, unified action today – including stopping greenhouse gas emissions as quickly as possible.
  • Children and youth must be invited into discussions, meaningfully engaged, and have their views respected as key stakeholders in decision making and policies that affect their health and their futures. A global movement for children cannot take place without them at its heart.

The full livestream of the high-level global launch event for the report, featuring experts from the WHO/UNICEF/Lancet team, can be found here.

Ian MatthewsCentering Development Around the World’s Children