Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Children and the Post 2015 Agenda

As part of the Wikiprogress post-2015 series, this ProgBlog article by Robbie Lawrence provides an overview of the issues that children are still facing around the world, despite of the progress made by the Millennium Development Goals.

 “We stress our commitment to create a world fit for children, in which sustainable human development, taking into account the best interests of the child, is founded on principles of democracy, equality, non- discrimination, peace and social justice and the universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelatedness of all human rights, including the right to development.” 
United Nations Millennium Declaration (para 2), UN General Assembly, 2000.

During the last ten years, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have catalyzed considerable development in child well-being globally. The overarching vision of cutting the amount of extreme poverty worldwide by half by 2015, anchored in a series of specific goals, has received wide acclaim from governments and global organizations. In the last decade, the number of people suffering from extreme poverty fell from almost 2 billion to less than 1.3 billion, child mortality dropped to 6.9 million (it was 12 million in 1990) and huge improvements were made in school enrolment.

While progress has been made and aspects of the goals have been achieved, questions continue to be raised regarding the accuracy of positive praise for the MDGs. The subject of inequality for example, has become a centerpiece of the MDG skeptic’s argument, since positive poverty statistics have failed to address the unerring reality that striking imbalances between rich and poor, urban and rural areas, men and women and ethnic groups still remain.  

Over the course of the next month, Wikichild will post articles on three child related issues which policy makers and organizations have identified as a priority for the post-2015 agenda, namely: 
  1. inequality
  2. education and 
  3. violence against children (particularly girls). 
There is already an extensive international debate on how the framework should take shape. Duncan Green, Oxfam’s Senior Strategic Adviser, has described the discussion as a veritable ‘Christmas tree’, decorated with a vast array of demands from a wide collection of NGOs that are together highly unachievable. Green’s own recommended strategy veers openly from the central stream of opinion, demanding data transparency and global league tables that expose those countries that fail to meet the requirements of the framework. Such pragmatic requests should certainly be considered alongside the overarching and potentially more abstract mandates that will make up the post-2015 document, and while we at Wikichild have chosen a number of specific topics to consider, they are by no means the only issues up for discussion.


Following the release of Save the Children's Born Equal and vision for post-2015 reports, and the recent consultation led by UNICEF and UNWomen, the issue of inequality has become a central element in the discussion for a new framework. The problem of inequality is transcendent throughout the world and it seems paramount that while focus is still applied to the current MDGs, the next generation of these goals must accurately pursue global equity with their results reported transparently. Only by shifting attention to those who have not benefited from the MDG program will its aims be fully achieved.


On the 5th of December 2012, the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown launched a public event at the Brookings Centre for Universal Education that examined the progress made by the education-related MDGs. Speaking passionately about the recent shooting of Malala Yousafazi who was targeted for her support of girl’s education and the launch of Education First, Brown emphasized the need for greater coordination amongst the development community to reach the remaining 61 million children currently out of school and put pressure on the Post 2015 agenda to make education a top priority. Given the fast growing global youth population, the necessity to equip this group with the tools to gain vital skills for building prosperous, healthy and equitable societies is more pressing than ever, particularly when considering to the current state of the world’s economy.

Violence Against Children

Only yesterday, at the 57th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York, Michelle Bachelet stated:

 "Ending violence against women and girls is the missing Millennium Development Goal."

Whether it is systemised rape as a weapon of war, trafficking, forced and early marriages, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), sexual abuse in school and at work or domestic abuse, violence against children, particularly girls, has been a topic of intense discussion lately. Following the recent surge of campaigns including 1 Billion Rising and Girl Rising, there has been a collective demand for the widespread problem to be addressed.

In line with past online discussions, including last month’s Transforming social norms to prevent violence against women and girls, Wikigender and Wikichild will collaborate to host an online discussion in May on adolescent girls and social norms, which will include featured topics such as missing women and female genital mutilation. It is our hope that the reports synthesized from these discussions will add to the growing pressure on policy makers to address the issue of violence against children. If this problem is not dealt with, then progress towards equality, development and peace cannot be achieved. 

We at Wikichild hope you will find the articles relating to each of these topics informative and insightful. It is important to mention that the The OECD Global Forum on Development (GFD) is organising an online consultation* entitled Reducing poverty is achievable: Finding those who are hidden by inequalities” on the Wikiprogress platform. Starting tomorrow, on Wednesday 6 March, you can post a comment in a few clicks by going to the “Contribute!” section of the online consultation page, so if you have an opinion, make sure your voice is heard. 

Wikichild Coordinator 

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