Making sure donors meet their international aid commitments is an important step towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), but money alone is not enough. We must ensure that the rights of all children are met. Children are central to the MDGs – all of the Goals affect children, and six of the eight Goals have a direct impact on them.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) explicitly calls for international cooperation to focus on the needs of children in developing countries. This means that the UK Government has an obligation to help ensure that rights of children in developing countries, as well as those in the UK, are met.
However, in the global push to achieve the MDGs, millions of the world’s most disadvantaged, vulnerable and marginalised children are being left behind. Progress toward achieving the MDGs between and within regions is uneven and slow. For example, half of the 8.8 million under-five deaths in 2008 took place in sub-Saharan Africa alone. Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia together account for more than three quarters of the 100 million primary-school-aged children currently out of school.
The CRC states that all children have the same rights, no matter who they are or where they are from. Research from UNICEF shows that this equity-based approach - focusing on the most excluded children - will accelerate progress towards the health MDGs faster than the current path, but also in a considerably more cost-effective and sustainable way. Governments should make sure that international aid takes such an approach.