Given over half the global population, includign more than a billion children live in urban areas, the newest UNICEF’s report on The State of the World’s Children puts a specific emphasis on the impact of urbanisation on children’s rights, health and well-being. While cities have long been associated with better employment, development and economic opportunities, for many they turned out be faced with increased inequalities, poverty, social and environmental deprivation.
UNICEF’s report examines the situation of the world’s children and adolescents in urban settings, including issues realted to migration, economic crisis and conflicts. Although sourcing on examples from developing countries, the report provides important implications and recommendations also for the developed nations, such as those in Europe. Children and adolescents living in cities and towns far too often live in impoverished - socially and environmentally- neighbourhoods, experience violations of their rights, expoloitation, have limitted access to services of general interest like education and healthcare.
Also, see EPHA Briefing on Children’s Health highlighting a health-in-all-policies and social determinants of health approach towards improving children and adolescents’ well-being. In the course of 2011, EPHA also proposed to the European Parliament a children’s health strategy to be developed.
To bring the issues and recommendations in one line, as the report outlines, being among the most vulnerable members of any community, children and adolescents disproportionatelly suffer from rights violation related to poverty and inequality in areas like:
inadequate and insufficient living conditions, unsecure and undecent housing (crowding, chronic respiratory conditions, home injuries and accidents); in this light, see EPHA’s partnership in TACTICS Child Injury Prevention project;
inadequate and inaccessible water and sanitation system, and hygiene conditions; contaminated and unsanitary conditions in urban settings form a particularly high risk for communicable diseases
deprivation and unequal access to quality services of general services like healthcare facilities and adequate nutrition; in urban areas, high concentrations of poverty combined with inadequate services (immunization, maternal and child care, hunger and malnutiriton, indoor and outdoor air pollution) increase child mortality and morbidity;
educational deprivation and cognitive development underperformance; urban inequalities undermine children’s right to education, increase poverty and diminish later-life employment opportunities;
child protection from forced labour, physical and mental violence, injury and abuse, as well as sexual expolitation;
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