[International] Children Facing Uncertain Future, Experts Warn

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19. 02. 2020.
BBC News

According to the WHO, Countries, all over the world are failing in securing children with both a healthy upbringing and a safe environment for their future. 180 countries have been ranked based on both their carbon emission levels and children’s wellbeing in a report by the WHO, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Lancet Commission.

Experts warn that by 2100 the global temperature is estimated to rise by 4 degrees Celsius, which would have a horrible impact on health and the environment. And though many poor countries have low carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, it’s still expected that they will be affected by drastic climate changes.

Also, the threat of exposing children to harmful marketing has been highlighted by the report. It’s said that children are exposed to more than 30,000 television advertisements a year, including ads for alcohol and junk food. The concerning increase in the use of social media among children and adolescents also means an increase in the impact of 'predatory marketing'. The consequences of encouraging fast-food consumption includes obesity, where it’s estimated that nearly 2.3 billion children and adults are overweight in 2019. Besides, more than 150 million child suffer from impaired growth and development due to various reasons, including poor nutrition.

In 2015, the world's countries agreed on setting seventeen sustainable development goals (SDGs), including zero poverty and climate action. But after five years, no significant progress has been made. In many countries, development is suppressed by wars, natural disasters, and climate change problems.

Furthermore, while the UK is ranked among the top 10 countries in the world on overall wellbeing, and UK law dictates ending carbon emissions by 2050, the UK is still behind in safeguarding their children’s future.

Albania, Armenia, Grenada, Jordan, Moldova, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Uruguay, and Vietnam were the only countries provide their children with fair health and wellbeing, and to have low CO2 emission targets by 2030.

Finally, the report emphasizes the need for drastic global changes, including limiting CO2 emissions, regulating harmful commercial marketing, and setting policies toward children's and adolescents' health and rights.

'This calls for the birth of a new era for child and adolescent health. It is the supreme test of our generation,' according to Dr. Richard Horton, the Lancet editor-in-chief.

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