UNICEF calls for more investment in vulnerable children to reduce poverty

23:29, October 21, 2010      

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Accelerating poverty reduction is possible if socio-economic inequalities and disparities are addressed. To achieve this, one of the best strategies in Bangladesh would be to invest more in the most vulnerable children.

This call was made by the United Nations Children's Fund ( UNICEF)at a national seminar held Thursday here in Bangladesh capital Dhaka for the launch of its two documents: UNICEF global report "Progress for Children: Achieving MDGS with equity" and " Mitigating socio-economic inequalities to accelerate poverty reduction: Investing in vulnerable children".

New UNICEF study shows despite progress in many areas of social and economic sectors, child poverty and socio-economic disparities in Bangladesh remain a grave concern.

More than 30 million children live below the upper poverty line and one-quarter lives in extreme poverty while they are deprived of basic social needs, it also showed.

Based on these findings, UNICEF suggests that investing in poor and vulnerable children should become a key priority component of Bangladesh's development strategy.

"An equity-focused strategy is not only right from a moral perspective, but it is also effective in achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)," said Carel de Rooy, UNICEF Representative in Bangladesh.

Presenting his keynote paper in the seminar, he said, "By targeting the most vulnerable children today, we can break the inter-generational cycle of poverty and accelerate poverty reduction, which is at the core of the Government's policy."

"According to our paper, such an approach in Bangladesh is affordable. It is not about spending much more money but spending what is available to greater effect," he added.

"Socio-economic inequality is the key barrier to development, particularly, in reducing poverty," said Abul Barkat, president of Bangladesh Economic Association, which jointly with the UNICEF organized the seminar.

He further said, "When it comes to children, the barrier increases manifolds as it prevents them to reach their full potential. Inequality also perpetuates poverty from one generation to the next. This is why it is so crucial for the government to invest in the most vulnerable children as part of the poverty reduction strategy."

The Bangladesh government, with UNICEF support, is currently implementing specific projects to reach the most vulnerable children, children living on the streets, engaged in child labor or orphaned.

Taking into account the cost of such interventions, as well as the resource constraints of the country, the UNICEF paper shows that, in ten years, it would be possible to provide access to basic education to almost all the most vulnerable children in Bangladesh,estimated at a total of 4 million.

UNICEF global report shows that while great progress is being made in international efforts to meet the MDGs, widening disparities have been accompanying this progress, including between developing and industrial nations, between richest and poorest quintiles within nations, between rural and urban populations and between boys and girls.

Source: Xinhua


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