The United Nations Children’s Fund has disclosed that 333 million children are still living in extreme poverty globally.
The report from UNICEF and the World Bank indicates that the COVID-19 pandemic led to the abolition of extreme poverty for 30 million fewer children than was previously predicted.
Disclosing this in a statement on Wednesday, UNICEF Executive Director, Catherine Russell revealed that around one in six children still live on less than $2.15 per day.
Russell added that a combination of crises, including the effects of COVID-19, conflicts, climate change and economic meltdown has halted the advancements and placed millions of children in extreme poverty.
“Compounding crises, from the impacts of COVID-19, conflict, climate change and economic shocks, have stalled progress, and left millions of children in extreme poverty.”
The report’s findings throw a spanner in the works of the UN’s ambitious goal to eradicate extreme child poverty by 2030.
On his part, the World Bank Global Director for Poverty and Equity, Luis-Felipe Lopez-Calva described the situation has ‘intolerable.
“A world where 333 million children live in extreme poverty — deprived not only of basic needs but also dignity, opportunity or hope — is simply intolerable.”
The report found that 40 percent of children in sub-Saharan Africa still live in extreme poverty — the highest percentage of anywhere in the world.
A series of factors including rapid population growth, Covid-19 and climate-related disasters have exacerbated extreme child poverty in sub-Saharan Africa in recent years, even as all other regions in the world have seen a steady decline.
The World Bank and UNICEF called on countries to prioritize tackling child poverty and to enact a range of measures including the expansion of universal child benefits programs.
“We cannot fail these children now,” said Russell from UNICEF. “Ending child poverty is a policy choice.”