11/20/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/20/2023 13:49
PANAMA CITY, 20 November 2023 - Most child-related Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators are off-pace to meet their targets by the 2030 deadline in Latin America and Caribbean, UNICEF warned on World Children's Day.
At the current pace, the region will not achieve 58 per cent of the indicator targets related to children's rights and well-being, according to UNICEF analysis of available data. In the past few decades, Latin America and Caribbean has had one of the slowest rates of progress towards the child-focused SDGs, second only to the Middle East and North Africa.
While Latin America and Caribbean is a top performer in some indicators - including recording the biggest decline in child deaths in the last 30 years - the region lags far behind in others. For example, the region has the second highest estimated learning poverty rate - 10-year-olds who are unable to read a simple text - and the second highest adolescent birth rate after sub-Saharan Africa. The region's child marriage rate has remained unchanged for three decades. And two in three of the region's children experience violent discipline at home.
"As of now, most child-related SDGs won't be met by 2030 in Latin America and Caribbean. While this region has been a global success story in reducing child deaths, it is failing children and adolescents on far too many other fronts. It's unacceptable that most of the region's 10-year-olds can't read a simple text and that millions of girls are brides and mothers. For countries to make progress, they must realize the rights of all children, without discrimination. If we leave children behind, the whole region falls behind with them," said Garry Conille, UNICEF's Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.
The region was already lagging behind on the SDGs before COVID-19. But the pandemic and prolonged lockdowns took a heavy human toll on the region, widening existing gaps in children's well-being. Slow economic growth, inflation and other global crises have set the Latin America and the Caribbean further off course. The region's progress is also weighed down by persisting inequalities that disproportionately affect indigenous children, afro-descendant children, and children with disabilities.
"In Latin America and the Caribbean, we can reach those children currently being left behind. In the last few decades, this region has proven it can be a world leader in increasing child survival. We need to harness that same level of political will, expertise and resources to ensure boys and girls not only survive but grow up to be healthy, productive, and engaged citizens," said Conille.
To accelerate progress on child-related SDG indicators in Latin America and the Caribbean, UNICEF reiterates its call on countries to:
Notes to editors:
In Latin America and the Caribbean: