UNICEF report reveals UK is not meeting its international obligations to UK children

Date: 28th June 2017
Category: Other human rights treaties and mechanisms

A recent report published by UNICEF has found that the UK Government still has some way to go in ensuring it meets the commitments of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that it made in relation to children.

The report, entitled "Report Card 14: Building the Future: Children and the Sustainable Development Goals in Rich Countries", assessed 41 high-income countries in relation to children and the SDGs. It found that, although progress has been made in some areas in the UK such as in the decline of teenage pregnancy rates and underage drinking, there was still significant work to be done in several areas.

Areas of particular concern in relation to the SDGs include:

  • End poverty (SDG1): One in five children live in relative income poverty measured at 60 percent of the median household income in the UK
  • Gender equality (SDG5): The UK has one of the highest rates of women aged 18-29 reporting having experienced sexual violence before aged 15 (12.3 percent).
  • Nutrition (SDG2): Polling finds that one in five children in the UK is reported to be living with an adult who is food insecure

Lily Caprani, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF UK, commented on the findings:

"Unlike the Millennium Development Goals that preceded them, these goals apply to rich countries as well as poor. The UK still has a way to go to implement these goals and build a more prosperous future for its children. The UK Government has been a leader in developing the SDGs and we urge them to re-double their efforts and outline a clear strategy to deliver on the commitments to the goals here in the UK, as well as overseas. This will make a critical difference to children."

A poll undertaken with children, also by UNICEF, found that over 90 percent want the UK government to implement the SDGs. UNICEF has called on the UK government to outline a clear strategy on how it plans to implement the SDGs at home and abroad, including comprehensive data collection which will monitor progress on key SDG indicators.