GENEVA - The world’s survival depends on children being able to flourish, but no country is doing enough to give them a sustainable future, dozens of highly respected international health experts have highlighted
In a UN-backed report assessing the capacity of 180 countries to ensure that their youngsters can survive and thrive, the authors highlight numerous “immediate” threats to their health, environment, and opportunities.
These include runaway greenhouse gas emissions, predatory advertising and deepening inequality in and among countries.
“No country in the world is currently providing the conditions we need to support every child to grow up and have a healthy future,” said Anthony Costello, Professor of Global Health and Sustainability at University College London, one of the lead authors of the report, commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and The Lancet medical journal.
“Especially, they’re under immediate threat from climate change and from commercial marketing, which has grown hugely in the last decade,” Professor Costello – former; WHO Director of Mother, Child, and Adolescent health – told journalists.
Growing inequality “in all countries” is also responsible for undermining children’s prospects, Professor Costello maintained.
This is the case even in wealthy industrialized nations like the United Kingdom, which had “very serious issues” with child poverty and inequality.
“The poorest countries have a long way to go to let their children be healthy, but the wealthy countries are threatening the future of all children through these excessive carbon emissions,” he said.
“We agree with Greta Thunberg when she says our world is on fire.”