Over 175 NGOs call on UN to count vulnerable children

31 Mar 2016

Over 175 children’s and disabilities rights organisations and academics from across the world have intensified their demands on the UN to ensure that all children are counted as part of its global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In a letter to UN statistical bodies - reissued after it was first sent last year, with a three-fold increase in signatories - they argue it is vital to ensure that the framework for monitoring the implementation of the SDGs captures “children living outside of households and/or without parental care”.

This diverse group of civil society organisations believe some of the world’s most vulnerable children, those without parental care or at risk of being so, have “fallen off the statistical map” and will be left behind by the SDGs. If the data gap is not filled, children will continue to be left behind. Some of the signatories include: Terre des hommes, Save the Children, SOS Children's Villages, Eurochild and others.

The SDGs, which were adopted by the United Nations last September, will guide spending of billions of dollars in international assistance over the next 15 years.

The goals have been set, with an accompanying global monitoring framework to measure progress and success. The SDG Global Indicator Framework was agreed by the UN Statistical Commission (UNSC) at its 47th session in New York on 11 March. However, there is yet to be seen a concrete change to the system and methodologies that will ensure that the SDGs will benefit all children.

The letter to UN states: “All children count, but not all children are counted. As a result, some of the world’s most vulnerable children – those without parental care or at risk of being so; in institutions or on the street; trafficked; separated from their families as a result of conflict or disaster; or recruited into armed groups – have largely fallen off the UN’s statistical map. There are only limited data about how many children live in such precarious circumstances, except for scattered estimates from some specific countries.”

It calls on the UN to “ensure that children living outside of households and/or without parental care are represented in disaggregated data” and to “improve and expand data collection methodologies to ensure all children are represented.”

Quality data needs to be developed and used to monitor SDG progress on poverty, inequality and social justice among vulnerable and largely forgotten children. There is a need for collective efforts to strengthen statistical capacity at national and international level to ensure that official data portrays the genuine reality of these children

The letter concludes: “The post-2015 global monitoring framework offers an opportunity to do more and better on behalf of the world’s most vulnerable children – ensuring, first and foremost, that they are no longer invisible.”

Please see attched the joint letter asking the UN to measure SDG progress among children without parental care.

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