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In 1970, the richest countries in the world committed to giving 0.7 percent of their Gross National Income (GNI) to overseas aid. Today, only five countries are meeting this target, and the UK Government has committed to reach the target by 2013.
International aid is helping to fulfil the rights of millions of children worldwide. For example, aid has funded 90 million free mosquito nets over the past five years, restricting the spread of malaria. It also plays a crucial role in helping developing countries make progress towards the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGS).
UNICEF UK is campaigning to ensure that the UK Government meets its 0.7 per cent commitment by 2013 and that aid is directed at the most vulnerable. We are also pushing for the Government to implement a Robin Hood Tax that could raise billions of pounds to alleviate poverty and help countries adapt to the worst impacts of climate change.
Infosheet: Millennium Development Goals
Find out more.
Today, 3.8 million children - almost 1 in 3 - live in poverty in the UK. This is one of the highest child poverty rates in the industrialised world.
Growing up in poverty is one of the biggest barriers to children enjoying their rights. It has a profound impact on children’s health, education, aspirations and well-being, yet children on their own can do little about it. According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the effects of child poverty are estimated to cost the UK £25 billion each year.
The UK Government has committed to ending child poverty in the UK by 2020. Without urgent action, the number of children living in poverty in the UK will increase as more families struggle to cope with the recession.
Children in developing countries are among the hardest hit by climate change, despite being the least responsible for it. Climate change denies children their rights to health, education, to a childhood and to be treated fairly. In parts of sub-Saharan Africa, it has already impacted on agriculture, leading to an increase in malnutrition among children. This is wrong. UNICEF works to put it right, helping communities adapt to the impacts of climate change now.
All children have the right to be healthy. Yet thousands of children die every day because of inadequate access to safe water and sanitation services and poor hygiene practices. Every year, diarrhoea claims the lives of 1.5 million children and has serious impacts on the welfare of millions more - such as ill health, impaired learning, environmental degradation and lost opportunities. This is wrong.
UNICEF works in more than 90 countries around the world to put it right by improving water supplies and sanitation facilities in schools and communities, and promoting safe hygiene practices.
Almost every minute of every day, another two young people are infected with HIV. Every two minutes, a child dies of AIDS. This is wrong.
Many children with HIV do not receive the life-saving medicine they need and children affected by HIV and AIDS are often denied their right to a childhood.
But HIV is both preventable and treatable. UNICEF works with communities and governments around the world to prevent new infections; prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV; and provide treatment, support, care and protection for children affected by HIV and AIDS.
The UK Government ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991. However, almost 20 years later, child rights are still not a reality for many children living in the UK. This is wrong.
UNICEF UK believes that making the Convention part of UK law would give powerful protection to children, ensuring that all children living in the UK, no matter who they are or where they’re from, have their rights realised.
Children have clearly told us that they want their rights to be enforceable in the UK courts. We take every opportunity to achieve real change for children by calling for their rights to be part of the law across the UK.