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Washington, D.C., World Bank, 2004 May.  p. (Health, Nutrition and Population (HNP) Discussion Paper; World Bank Report No. 69106)This paper argues for more nuance in the interpretation of progress towards the Nutrition Millennium Development Goal indicator (halving the prevalence of underweight children, under 5 years old, by 2015). Interpretation of a country's performance based on trends alone is ambiguous, and can lead to erroneous prioritization of countries in need of donor assistance. For instance, a country may halve the prevalence by 2015, but will still have unacceptable high malnutrition rates. This paper analyses which countries are showing satisfactory and unsatisfactory progress using the Annual Rate of Change (ARC), and then introduces the World Health Organization-classification of severity of malnutrition in the analysis to provide more nuance. It highlights that a little less than half of the Bank's client population is likely to halve underweight by 2015. Although the paper uses national data only, it flags the risks and recommends that countries take regional disparities into their needs-analysis. The paper also argues for more attention to the other important nutrition indicators, stunting and micronutrient deficiencies, which remain enormous problems, and briefly discusses solutions to reducing underweight malnutrition.
New York, New York, UNICEF, 2007 Dec.  p.Five years after the Special Session, more than 120 countries and territories have prepared reports on their efforts to meet the goals of 'A World Fit for Children' (WFFC). Most have developed these in parallel with reports on the Millennium Development Goals, carrying out two complementary exercises. Reports on the Millennium Development Goals highlight progress in poverty reduction and the principal social indicators, while the World Fit for Children reports go into greater detail on some of the same issues, such as education and child survival. But they also extend their coverage to child protection, which is less easy to track with numerical indicators. The purpose of this document is to assemble some of the information contained in these reports, along with the latest global data - looking at what has been done and what remains to be done. It is therefore organized around the four priority areas identified in A World Fit for Children, discussing each within the overall framework of the Millennium Development Goals. To appreciate the achievements for children over the past two decades, it is also useful to reflect briefly on how their world has changed. Children born in 1989, the year when the Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted, are now on the brink of adulthood. They have lived through a remarkable period of social, political and economic transformation. (excerpt)
Contact. 2005 Jan; (179):40-42.In our world today, the statistics on hunger continue to rise alarmingly despite general economic progress and technological advancement. The quality of peace and true democratic value and the realization of human rights remain stubborn challenges facing civilization in the twenty-first century. Both developed and developing countries have missed some crucial links that might have ensured sustainable development and a more promising 'peace' scenario today. In its haste, the global society has overlooked its rich heritage of cultural, moral, and ethical values as well as its basic respect for human life and promotion of human dignity, and has sadly discarded its general code of ethics and spirituality. In other words, the focus of the world has been mainly uni-dimensional on economic success and political power. The recently concluded summits- World Food Summit in Rome and the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg-have brought home the lack of political will and consensus to achieve even modest targets. There is a need for a consensus to achieve even modest targets. There is need for a larger ethical and moral movement beyond politics and the onus is on civil society to take the lead. (excerpt)
Food and Nutrition Bulletin. 2005; 26(2 Suppl 2):S170-S178.Universal access to basic education is a prerequisite for long-term food security, which, in turn, is critical to achieving the Millennium Development goals. This paper examines how Food for Education interventions can contribute to improved food security, improved education outcomes, and a broader set of development goals. Food for Education entails the distribution of food commodities to children who attend school. The commodities may be locally grown and purchased or contributed by aid donors. The food may be consumed by students in school snack, breakfast, or lunch programs. Alternatively, it may be given as a take-home ration for consumption by a family that regularly sends "at-risk" children (usually girls) to school. Four interrelated ideas are discussed: (1) the universalization of primary school education is a prerequisite for food security (defined here as availability of, access to, and proper biologic utilization of food supplies); (2) Food for Education boosts primary school participation and, therefore, food security; (3) the effects of primary school education on food security are greatest wherever "quality standards" are met, although important effects are present even when education quality is modest; and (4) efforts to improve primary education participation (demand) and efforts to improve primary education quality (supply) are highly interrelated and mutually reinforcing. Food for Education is a versatile resource that can be used to address a broad range of issues related to both education supply and demand. To be effective, Food for Education interventions must reflect local education supply and demand realities. (author's)
Economist. 2006; 154(3):443-466.In its Millennium Declaration of September 2000, the United Nations adopted the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), to be reached in 2015 through concerted efforts worldwide. According to UN-calculations, the estimated costs in terms of additional development aid of meeting the MDGs in all countries vary from 121 billion US dollars in 2006 to 189 billion US dollars in 2015. The present communication reviews the figures reported. It appears that while Asia is well on track to achieve the goals, essentially through efforts of its own, Africa is lagging behind, albeit that according to detailed survey data on weight-for-length among adults collected in Africa for the US aid agency, rates of undernutrition are about 58 percent of the levels used as a reference by the UN, which are based on assessment of food production. Yet, child undernutrition comes out higher in these surveys. Besides mentioning reservations about the adequacy of these MDG-yardsticks, we consider the cost estimates for Africa as presented in the UN-reports and subsequently assessed in the literature. It appears that these estimates are too low, even if all MDG-funds were concentrated on this continent, essentially because they are set up as shopping lists that are necessarily incomplete and, among others, disregard many of the indirect cost of delivering the goods to the target beneficiaries, including the cost of providing adequate security and avoiding corruption. Nonetheless, recalling how hopeless the situation looked some 30 years ago for China, India, and Bangladesh, where unprecedented numbers have now escaped extreme poverty during the past decade and a half, we submit that over a time horizon of about twice the 15 years of the MDG's and with adequate international support, realization of the MDG-targets should be possible for Africa too. (author's)
UN Chronicle. 1986 Apr; 23: p..So begins a special report, Within Human Reach: A Future for Africa's Children, prepared by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). According to UNICEF, neglect of the human costs of the African crisis has obscured a full understanding of the "scenario for disaster' that has been unfolding on that continent over the past two decades. "In its day-to-day work in the continent, UNICEF is faced with the maluntrition and ill health which claim the lives of nearly 4 million African children each and every year--even when there is no drought, no famine, no camps, no epidemics, and no media coverage', states UNICEF Executive Director James P. Grant in a preface to the report. "This is the "silent emergency' which, exacerbated by war and drought, has suddenly become the "loud emergency' of which all the world has heard'. However, adds Mr. Grant, "the first priority for action is to protect the lives and the normal growth of children. In times of emergency, the immediate, human argument for "children first' is an obvious one. But there is also a longer-term and more hard-headed case to be made. For there is a profound connection between the mental and physical development of the children and the social and economic development of their nations.' (excerpt)
New York, New York, UNICEF, 2002 Mar. 23 p.Development today has become synonymous with poverty reduction. And since children are often the ones who bear the brunt of society’s poverty, development efforts must focus first and foremost on freeing children from poverty. (excerpt)
In: The progress of nations, 1996, [compiled by] UNICEF. New York, New York, UNICEF, 1996. 33-4.This article's author argues that, at present, governments are the only resource allocation agency for promoting positive rights (PRs) and preventing widespread human destitution or ill-being. Market forces allocate resources according to purchasing power rather than need and can create poverty. Poverty, rapid population growth, and environmental degradation are forces that push people into destitution. Honoring PRs is fundamental to economic progress, social cohesion, and political stability. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child seeks to promote positive (something to be done) and negative rights (something not to be done). PRs in the Convention are the right to adequate nutrition, primary health care, and a basic education. PRs are dependent upon resources, which are affected by scarcity and competition. Negative rights are feasible without limitations and are available in rich or poor countries. Article 24 of the Convention urges countries to reduce infant and child mortality and combat disease and malnutrition. Article 4 allows that countries shall undertake the aforementioned measures to the maximum extent of their available resources. The difficulty with the Convention is the ability of countries to assess whether governments guarantee PRs to the maximum extent of available resources. The "Progress of Nations 1993" identifies the National Performance Gap as an assessment measure of the percentage of children adequately nourished, the percentage being educated to at least grade 5, and the percentage surviving to age 5 against gross national product per capita. Some argue that services and commodities necessary for better health and adequate nutrition are not rights but needs. The counterargument is that needs become rights when countries are capable of meeting that need and the need becomes essential to human well-being.
People. 1983; 10(2):6-9.The main findings of the World Health Organization (WHO) recent global review of the progress that has been made in the Health for All campaign are presented. The attempt was made to assess progress on the basis of the following 12 global indicators: endorsement of Health for All as a policy at the highest official level; establishing mechanisms for involving people in Health for All strategies; spending at least 5% of the gross national product (GNP) on health; a reasonable percentage of national health expenditures devoted to local health care; primary health resources equitably distributed; the number of developing countries with well-defined strategies for Health for All, accompanied by explicit resource allocations and sustained outside support; primary health care available to the whole population; adequate nutritional status for children; infant mortality rate to be below 50/1000 live births; life expectancy at birth of over 60 years; adult literacy for men and women over 70%; and gross national product per head over $500. 39 of the 70 countries have signed regional charters pledging themselves to strive to achieve Health for All by the Year 2000. Another 9 countries have committed themselves through other policy statements. 31 countries have reported on efforts to involve communities, half of them by adopting policies and half through actual mechanisms, although not necessarily on a national scale. 26 of the 70 countries are spending more than $5 a head each year on health care. Many countries are placing more emphasis on providing resources for local care, but the shift is nowhere near what is required. WHO has been unable to establish the per capita spending on primary health since it permeates so many levels and sectors of the health services. Activities to increase food supply and improve nutrition are being integrated into primary health care in the form of nutritional surveillance, preventing and controlling deficiency disorders, promoting breastfeeding, direct treatment of malnutrition, oral rehydration therapy, food supplements, immunization, and the addition of iodine to salt. Only 7 of the 54 countries reporting infant mortality rates were below 50/1000, and these included 3 developed countries. Rates in the remaining 47 ranged from 56/1000, to 250/1000. Of the 70 countries, 51 had life expectancy rates varying between 40 and 59; in 1979, 13 had rates over 60 and 6 did not report. Only 4 countries reported male and female literacy rates over 70%. Over 60% of the countries reviewed had a per capita GNP of less than $500.