Eurochild appeals to UN to count vulnerable children in SDG indicators

In the open letter ‘All children count, but not all children are counted’ Eurochild urges the UN to ensure that its global Sustainable Development Goals count also world’s most vulnerable children

Together with a leading group of children’s NGOs organizations, in a joint letter Eurochild has appealed to the UN Statistical Commission and the Inter-Agency Group to ensure that children living outside of families are monitored and counted as part of its global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The letter to UN Expert Group makes key recommendations for the SDG document called ‘Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Global Action’. It urges the UN to ensure that children living outside of households and/or without parental care are represented in disaggregated data. It also recommends to improve and expand data collection methodologies to ensure all children are represented.

Children’s organizations have long recognized that we do not know how many children live outside of families and almost certainly under-estimate the totals. Loose estimates indicate that at least eight million live in institutions and orphanages, the vast majority of whom are not orphans. More than a million of these children live in Europe.  A central aim of the SDGs is that no-one will be left behind by global development. But NGOs have argued that the absence of reliable mechanisms for counting children outside of families, and measuring the success of work to transform their lives, raises the risk that some children will, indeed, be left behind.

The letter to UN Expert Group states:  “All children count, but not all children are counted. As a result, some of the world’s most vulnerable children – those without parental care or at risk of being so; in institutions or on the street; trafficked; separated from their families as a result of conflict or disaster; or recruited into armed groups – have largely fallen off the UN’s statistical map. There are only limited data about how many children live in such precarious circumstances, except for scattered estimates from some specific countries.”

The post-2015 global monitoring framework offers an opportunity to do more and better on behalf of the world’s most vulnerable children – ensuring, first and foremost, that they are no longer invisible,” the letter concludes.