Preparing to tackle child poverty globally: three goals for 2015

In an earlier post, I discussed the renewed emphasis on child poverty in the new development goals over the past year, and why this was a crucial development for children and societies.

The year ahead will be equally important as Member States finalise the new global agenda, including the measurable indicators to track progress, and guide the implementation of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In this context three key issues we see for the year ahead:

1. Maintain the inclusion of children in the poverty goal

While the centrality of poverty to the overall goals is beyond question, and so far no member states have held a reservation against the goal or the language around children, in complex intergovernmental processes language can change quickly and with unintended consequences.

So while things are looking very hopeful, we must work to support the understanding of Member States of the importance of measuring and addressing child poverty.

 2. Include indicators of child poverty in the SDGs

In the coming year, the conversation around the SDGs is going to swing crucially towards developing the indicators by which the goals will be monitored nationally and internationally. An important input into this process is an excellent and comprehensive report on Indicators and a Monitoring Framework for the SDGs by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

The report does a heroic job of reducing the 169 targets to 100 suggested indicators including extreme poverty (those living on less than $1.25), national poverty lines, and crucially recognizes multidimensional poverty. It makes a strong case for child poverty to be measured using these indicators and highlights the importance of age disaggregation, including reference to UNICEF’s MODA methodology, for capturing multidimensional child poverty.

With children explicitly mentioned in the target, a clear focus on child poverty measures in the final indicators will be vital to support Member States assessing and addressing child poverty when the SDGs are implemented.

3. Provide the tools and resources to support the implementation of an agenda to end child poverty

Once the goals, targets, and indicators are in place, effective implementation will be crucial. This will be particularly important for an area such as child poverty, which was not explicitly included as part of the MDG framework.

However, while child poverty may be new to the global goals, there is a wealth of experience in countries as diverse as Mexico, South Africa, Indonesia and the New Zealand of nationally led processes of both identifying and responding to child poverty.

UNICEF is one among many partners supporting governments in these efforts.  To prepare for implementation of the SDGs we need to work in partnership to bring together the tools, resources and experiences to provide governments coordinated support to measure and respond to child poverty.

Getting involved

We would love to hear from you directly on priorities for children in poverty for the year ahead, either in the comments below or on twitter (@dmistewart1 or @UNICEFSocPol). To engage directly on the SDGs on child poverty do join the World We Want conversation on children and Post-2015.


David Stewart is the Chief of Child Poverty and Social Protection at UNICEF HQ.

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