November 19, 2009

UNICEF: 20th Anniversary of the Convention on The Rights of the Child

On November 20, 1989 the Convention on The Rights of the Child was unanimously approved by the UN General Assembly, and then ratified by 193 countries. Today we celebrate the 20th anniversary of this historic day, by applauding the progresses made in the last twenty years, but also by remembering that many challenges still lie ahead of us.

This video, the music and the photographs, is really beautiful.
Take a minute to watch it.

"Lullaby: The UNICEF Anthem" is a new composition by UNICEF Canada Ambassador Steve Barakatt.
The Anthem was composed to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Produced in collaboration with other UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors, musicians and video artists from around the globe, Lullaby is dedicated to the world's children and the realization of their rights. Mr. Barakatt also directed this music video featuring stirring images from UNICEF's photography archive.
To learn more about the Convention on the Rights of the Child...please click here.

Progress We've Made in the last 20 years:

Child Survival:
The annual prevention number of global under-five deaths has dropped from 12.5 million in 1990 to less than 9 million in 2008. 
Micro-nutrient Supplementation: Fully protecting children in developing regions with two doses of  vitamin A has risen from 16% to 62% since 1999.
Routine Immunization: Of three doses of DPT3 vaccine has increased from 75% in 1990 to 81% in 2007. 
Vaccines: Save millions of lives and have helped reduce global measles deaths by 74% since 2000.
HIV Prevalence: Has declined among women aged 15–24 attending antenatal clinics since 2000, in 14 of 17 countries with sufficient data to determine trends. 
HIV Treatment: For children under 15 has risen dramatically, most significantly in sub-Saharan Africa.
Improved Drinking Water: More than 1.6 billion people have gained access to improved drinking-water
sources between 1990 and 2006.
Primary School Enrollment: The number of children out of school declined from 115 million in 2002 to 101 million in 2007.
Primary School Completion: Survival to the last primary grade for children in developing countries was more than 90% in 2000-2007 according to international survey data.
Gender Parity in Primary Education: Is improving, with the gender parity index at 96% or higher in most
developing regions.

But There are Still Many Challenges Ahead:

2.5 Billion people still lack access to improved sanitation facilities
1 Billion children are deprived of one or more services essential to survival and development.
148 Million children under-five in developing regions are underweight for their age.
101 Million children are not attending primary school, with more girls than boys missing out.
22 Million infants are not protected from diseases by routine immunization.
19 Million infants in developing countries are born with low birth weight.
8.8 Million children worldwide died before their fifth birthday in 2008.
4 Million newborns worldwide are dying in the first month of life.
4 Million children under-five die each year from just three causes: diarrhea, malaria or pneumonia (all easily preventable and curable).
2 Million children under fifteen worldwide are living with HIV.
More than 500,000 women die each year from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.
HIV Prevalence among young women in Eastern and Southern Africa is 3 times higher than among young  men.
Lifetime Risk of Maternal Death is 300 times greater for women living in the least developed countries than it is for those from industrialized countries.
Up to 1.5 Billion children have been affected by violence.
150 Million children 5–14 years old are engaged in child labour.
70 Million women and girls in 29 countries have experienced female genital mutilation/cutting.
More than 64 Million women aged 20–24 in the developing world were married before age 18.
14 Million young women give birth between the  ages of 15 and 19 years old.
1.2 Million children were trafficked each year as of the year 2000.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. As you can see, there's still a huge amount of progress to make.
See the full Report Summary here.

Pass this information on to as many people as you can. Apathy is a terribly dangerous thing, and raising awareness among the people who have the will and means to make a difference is the only way these children will ever have a chance at a brighter future. Thanks!


De Lly Dilettante said...

Thank you for sharing this post.

Julia said...

you're welcome. I do work for UNICEF, but just working in an office it's hard to not think about what else I could be doing (I'm certainly not saving as many children as working in the field would!), so I do my best to spread important info and try to raise awareness!

Julia said...

Isn't the video beautiful? They showed it at the UNICEF conference yesterday, and it was so moving.

Laura said...

Even if you are stuck in an office (instead of in the field), what you do is an important and integral part of making the organization a success. I admit, I am a little envious. It must be fulfilling to be a part of something that truly makes a difference!