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In a Pandemic Year, Some Good News for Children–10 Points of Progress in 2020

By Jo Becker, Children’s Rights Division, Human Rights Watch

 

 

This year has been devastating for children. The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the education of 1.5 billion students, pushed an estimated 150 million additional children into poverty, left many without caregivers, and increased child laborchild marriage, and violence in the home.

But despite the enormous hardships, the year has also brought some good news for kids. As we finish the year, here are 10 areas of progress from 2020:

  1. Greece ended its longstanding practice of detaining unaccompanied migrant children in jail cells.
  2. Both Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe committed to ending the exclusion of pregnant girls and teenage mothers from school.
  3. The US states of Minnesota and Pennsylvania both enacted laws to ban all child marriage before age 18.
  4. Five more countries – Estonia, Malawi, Seychelles, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Antigua and Barbuda – committed to protecting schools during armed conflict by endorsing the Safe Schools Declaration, bringing the total to 106 endorsers.
  5. hospital in Chicago pledged to become the first in the United States to stop performing medically unnecessary surgeries on children born with intersex traits.
  6. FIFA imposed a lifetime ban on the Haitian soccer federation president for systematic sexual abuse against female players, including girls.
  7. South Sudan signed a comprehensive action plan to end violations against children in armed conflict.
  8. Saudi Arabia announced that it would end executions of offenders for crimes committed before the age of 18.
  9. Japan and Seychelles banned all corporal punishment of children, bringing the global total of countries with a comprehensive ban to 60.
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Gartner: Achieving the Millennium Development Goals: Education is Key

Achieving the Millennium Development Goals: Education is the Key Missing Link

David Gartner, Co-Director, Center for Universal Education

The Brookings Institution

July 30, 2010 —

President Obama is releasing a plan for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 in advance of the largest gathering of world leaders in at least a decade at the United Nations. While the Administration’s outline includes useful ideas on tracking development outcomes and increasing transparency and accountability, it also represents a missed opportunity to deliver on Obama’s commitment to invest $2 billion in a Global Fund for Education to achieve universal primary education. For most of the MDGs, particularly those that are most off-track, success will be nearly impossible without the achievement of universal primary education, MDG 2. With 72 million children still not in primary school, achieving universal education would offer extraordinary leverage in the broader fight against global poverty.

While there is some progress in poverty reduction for MDG 1: “Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger,” there is much less progress on the commitment to halve the number of people suffering from hunger by 2015.  Child malnutrition is a key dimension of world hunger and 137 million children under the age of 5 are still underweight globally. Educating women is an important tool for reducing child hunger, according to a cross-country analysis of 63 countries. The study found that educational gains in women’s education accounted for 43 percent of all progress in reducing child malnutrition.

MDG 3: “Eliminate gender disparity,” commits to closing the gender gap in all education levels and increasing female representation in the wage employment and national parliaments.

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